Zoolander 2: Film Review
Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Will Ferrell, Cyrus Arnold
Director: Ben Stiller
You're either in or out when it comes to fashion.
And unfortunately, in this sequel to the 2001 Zoolander, Ben Stiller's Derek Zoolander is woefully and painfully out.
Forced into reclusive ways ("I've become a hermit crab" Zoolander says) after a centre he built collapsed killing his wife, injuring his mate Hansel and ultimately leading to his son being taken by child services, the intellectually challenged Derek Zoolander is coaxed back out of retirement when offered a runway job.
However, at the same time, pop stars around the world are being assassinated and all die pouting one last look that appears to be connected to Zoolander's repertoire.
Contacted by Interpol (led with chutzpah by Penelope Cruz's Valentina), Zoolander's reunited with Owen Wilson's Phantom of the Opera-esque Hansel as a conspiracy unfurls and the pair are thrust into proceedings.
There are no two ways about this sequel.
To quote Zoolander himself, it's La-me.
It's an endless attempt at a joke without a punchline and a repetition of gags from the first film as well as an attempt to try and capture something that worked the first time around.
Even with four writers on board, this is nothing more than a flimsy excuse to gather a whole heap of celebrities for cameos and mixing a spy-esque caper (The Man From D.U.M.B.C.L.E anyone?) into a final product that is as lacklustre from the beginning as it is from the end. Scenes appear to have little coherence, little fluidity and little reason to exist. An ongoing gag about how the duo who were so hot in 2001 and are now so out of the loop with fashion and technology is handled with as much aplomb as a rock being tossed into an ocean.
Stiller just embarrasses himself in front of the camera as much as he does behind it with very little hitting the mark. It's almost as if the cameos are wheeled out to distract from the fact the jokes don't land and to surprise you with who they've managed to cajole into appearing (though to be fair, one of the highlights is Kiefer Sutherland's perfectly-timed comedic appearance as one of Hansel's lovers from his orgy - a sort of scowling sad Jack Bauer).
The problem with Zoolander 2 is just that it's not remotely funny enough.
Whereas the original passed into cult infamy with its skewering of modelling and conventions as well as blessing the vernacular with the "Blue Steel" look was down to the fact that it was actually funny. Zoolander No 2 is nothing in comparison to that - while Penelope Cruz seems to have a ball of a time as the Interpol agent and injects proceedings with some life, the rest of the film is as indulgent as it is try-hard. It seems in part content to try and coast on the nostalgia you'll feel for the leads - and it's not enough.
Zoolander 2 is as vacuous and as dumb as its male model leads; but whereas the first gave you leeway to laugh along and enjoy the journey, this cinematic catwalk, so devoid of atmosphere and humour, is easily one of the worst inflicted upon audiences this year.