The long awaited Zoolander 2 finally strutted it’s stuff in theaters this morning and it was really, really, really, ridiculously average.
The film sees the now retired Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) forced back into the world of male modelling when a mysterious group begin to assassinate the world’s most attractive people.
Along the way Zoolander meets a few old faces including Hansel (Owen Wilson) and Mugatu (Will Ferrell) plus a new love interest in Fashion Police Officer, Melanie Valentina (Penelope Cruz) – if that sounded interesting to you then I’ve done a better job than the screenwriter’s in describing the plot.
Zoolander 2’s biggest problem is it makes the same mistake almost every comedy sequel does and plays it incredibly safe. Rather than try and be innovative the writers have simply dug the old Zoolander jokes from the back of the wardrobe and are trying to convince us that its old cast offs are new clothes.
A perfect example would be the absolutely criminal reuse of the ‘orange mocha frappuccino’ gag, which was hilarious in the first film, but here feels like a crowbarred in reference to reassure you that you are indeed watching a Zoolander sequel.
The whole film has a joyless and cynical quality to it as it hits the same beats of the original, like a crappy artist doing his own shitty paint by numbers version of what they think a Zoolander film should be.
The lack of effective jokes is compounded by the film’s plot. While the original film’s story was equally farcical, it at least made sense within the context of that universe (and it helped that it was actually funny) while here the plot seems like a particularly shoddy game of word association, jumping from scene to scene like a hyperactive kangaroo.
There’s also a glaring plot-hole involving Hansel’s involvement and characterisation, which I genuinely thought was going to turn out to be a plot point, until I remembered I was watching a cynical by the books Hollywood sequel with as much thought put into it as a drunken text.
Rounding out the film sequel’s sins, we have the gratuitous celebrity cameos. I’ve always thought of celebrity cameo’s ( a few notable exceptions aside, including the appearance of the late great David Bowie in the original Zoolander) as a life-jacket for crappy films – why have a coherent story or jokes when you can just point at a well known person and say: “You know this person, they’re relevant, aren’t we clever for including them.”
Despite all of my problems with the film it’s not an offensive sequel (we’re looking at you Paul Blart Mall Cop 2) just average, which is made all the worse by the moments which are actually quite funny. Zoolander’s confusion over ‘hipster-ism’ and new slang words both have potential, but are quickly lost in the muddle as the film once again goes back to its old formula.
Will Ferrell also impresses, being the only character in the film to actually make me laugh, with a series of one liners, which while not gut busting are at least delivered with enough character and passion to tease an occasional guffaw. Overall though, the film’s a disappointing mess, which while not completely tarnishing the name Zoolander, fails in every way the original succeeded with it’s obvious plot and even more obvious jokes.
Honestly, if you were thinking of seeing this we’d wait until it inevitably makes it’s way to the big basket of discount DVD’s you find in ASDA.