A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: Ben Stiller
Written By: John Hamburg, Ben Stiller, Nick Stoller, Justin Theroux
Produced By: Stuart Cornfeld, Scott Rudin, Ben Stiller, Clayton Townsend
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penélope Cruz
Running Time: 102 Minutes
In 2002, if you were to ask a stranger you were passing in the street if they’d both seen Zoolander and would be interested in a sequel, chances are that you be met with two ecstatic ‘yeses’. If you were to try the same approach in 2015, you would most likely receive a response of ‘what-lander?’ and ‘I don’t know what that is, so probably not’.
A lot can change in fifteen years, and for Ben Stiller’s once-universally adored turn of the century comedy, it is painfully apparent. With a sequel that satisfies on paper, it doesn’t take audiences too long to realise just how much of a colossal misstep and potential jeopardiser for the original Zoolander 2 really is.
Not only does it plummet into the realm of failed comedy sequels, it misses the mark on such an enormous scale and begins to take away from the first film and its wonderfully executed balance of self-awareness, stupidity and endearment.
Supremely unfunny and awkwardly desperate for the most part, Zoolander 2 is nothing but a cover song of the original, full of rehashes, poorly developed and explored characters, terrible dialogue, a plot that is far too sizeable for the property and cameos that don’t catch the eyes in wonder, but trigger a long and exhausted rolling instead.
As predictable as the progression of the seasons, Zoolander 2 nominates the only narrative route that offers anything substantially interesting to the characters and explores it. Dealing with obsolescence and unfavourableness in what could be seen as an ironic wink to the audience (which ultimately seems offensive to those who paid money to see it), Derek (Ben Stiller) and his best golden-locked muchacho Hansel (Owen Wilson) are introduced once again, only this time they’ve gone their separate ways following a tragic incident.
Hansel is isolated in the desert with a severe facial disfigurement whilst Derek and become a recluse (or ‘hermit crab’) and is going by a different name.
After word gets out that an operative task force is linking the deaths of famous celebrities to Derek and his iconic look, he is brought back into the spotlight, however his personal agenda is centred around family, with the spotlight being secondary.
Being thrust back into the world of high fashion and glamour, the once-so hot right now pair are given the newsflash… they aren’t.
As the plot unfolds and even more irritating characters are thrown into the mix, we finally revisit Mugatu (Will Ferrel), arguably the films best element (the original that is…). Not only is he left far too late, the trailer spoils every single line of dialogue with any potentially amusing qualities, leaving Mugatu a shell of his former self.
There is a common trend within Zoolander 2, and that is painfully unremarkable evolution. Not only has the plot evolved from 2001 and become something that is far too convoluted and global for a Zoolander film, the characters that occupy the world are either intolerably blood-curdling (here’s looking at you, Fred Armisan, that insufferable snapback-wearing hipster and Cyrus Arnold, who played Derek Jr.), or they have evolved into mere caricatures of themselves.
No more do we see Derek, Hansel, Mugatu, Todd and the Evil DJ. Now we simply see Stiller, Wilson, Ferrel, Nathan Lee Graham and Justin Theroux collecting a paycheque. It’s a true shame.
No matter how many throwbacks are shoved down our throats, no matter how many topical commentaries on contemporary culture and the current zeitgeist are established and no matter how many pointless and superfluous cameos are included, Zoolander 2 perishes in more ways than one.
Fifteen years too late, the world of comedy has changed; some would argue in a way that suits the style of Zoolander more. However whatever was presented here, it certainly wasn’t the Zoolander we once knew and loved.
Don’t rely on retreading old ground as the foundation for the new and updated sequel. Don’t think that because the ‘Orange mocha frappuccino’ sequence worked so well back in 2001 it can be shoehorned in to equal effect, it’s pathetic.
Sequels are not meant to be greatest hits albums that remind us of a better time.
For Zoolander 2 to be anything like the original as far as quality and enjoyability is concerned, it needed to be at least……three times better than this.