- on Friday, 12 February 2016 14:45
- by Frank Wilkins
15 years is a lifetime in the fashion industry. It’s even longer in the one-note joke business. Yet a decade and a half after the original Zoolander walked the runway to deafening indifference, Ben Stiller and Company attempt another milking of a concept that ran its course a long, long time ago.
In Zoolander 2, the riff on the absurdity and narcissism of the fashion industry (male modeling, in particular) continues with a behind-the-scenes look at the larger-than-life characters and outlandish goings-on in the world of high fashion. Yes, what we know of that world is absurdly ludicrous and should make for a rich proving ground of potentially funny material. But as handled in Zoolander 2, the concept comes apart at the seams and stumbles on the catwalk.
Saddled with the burden of a release only a few weeks after 9/11, Zoolander never really initially caught on with audiences, but did eventually pick up a respectable cult following that fell in love with Ben Stiller’s adorable but stupid title character. After all, who doesn’t dig the Blue Steel pout, and how can you not love someone who would open the Derek Zoolander Center for Children Who Can’t Read Good and Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too?
The buffoonery continues In Zoolander 2 when, following an unforeseen catastrophe to the Center, Derek and Hansel are forced into exile, while the evil Mugatu (Will Ferrell) is serving a stint behind bars. When Billy Zane arrives with an invitation to star in a major fashion event in Rome, Derek and Hansel are unable to resist the allure of a comeback.
Upon their arrival in Rome, the pair quickly discover how much the industry has changed during their absence. And this becomes the central point of comedic emphasis as Derek and Hansel are too stupid to even realize they are the butt of the joke. Some of the bits hit, but most fail, including one that has the two wearing red silk jumpsuits emblazoned with “Old” and “Lame” (Derek pronounces it, Lamé) as a huge vat dumps prunes on them. Funny stuff, huh?
As they struggle to find their relevance in this world of fashion and modeling that has changed since their absence (the lingo is different, androgynous models are all the rage, and cell phones have gotten… bigger), Derek and Hansel discover that the real reason they were invited to the show is to help stop a calculated plot designed to completely destroy the fashion industry from the inside out. A sub-plot involving the rescue of Derek’s long lost son, an interpol agent played by a sizzling Penélope Cruz, a multi-species orgy collective, and a slew of off-beat cameos by Sting, Tommy Hilfiger, Bobby Brown, Susan Boyle, Katy Perry, Keifer Sutherland, and others are thrown into the mix. The irony of it all: Derek and Hansel are the only numbskulls stupid enough to save fashion. Get it?
Yes, the plot is as bloated and tortuous as it sounds. And that’s Zoolander 2’s main shortcoming: not only does the stale humor fail to find its zone this second time around, but a laborious plot whose only purpose is to connect together the mildly funny skits, is a total mess as well.
There’s probably plenty of hilarious inside material and an overabundance of flamboyant characters in the industry to lampoon with a movie that works. But instead of reinventing with a new foundation and an application of fresh lipstick, Stiller and co-writer Justin Theroux, go for the low-hanging fruit of the same dumb humor, yet push it over into inanity this time around.
I’d like to say that if you enjoyed Zoolander, then this one will suit you just fine. But take it from someone who did find something to latch onto in the original: the warmed over humor in Zoolander 2 is a tired one-trick pony that spit the bit barely 15 minutes into the original.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual content, a scene of exaggerated violence, and brief strong lanaguage.
Runtime: 102 mins
Director: Ben Stiller
Writer: Ben Stiller; Justin Theroux
Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penélope Cruz
Tagline: Long time no Z
Memorable Movie Quote: "Someone's trying to kill the world's most beautiful people."
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Official Site: http://www.zoolander.com/
Release Date: February 12, 2016
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details available.
Synopsis: Derek and Hansel are modelling again when an opposing company attempts to take them out from the business.
No details available.