When Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) make their runway return early in Zoolander 2, they are wearing shirts that read “Old” and “Lame.” It is, of course, lame of me to point out how accurately those shirts’ sentiments reflect my thoughts about the film. Sorry.
Zoolander 2 has a handful of slightly funny moments, but many more moments that are supposed to be funny but are not. But hey, the numerous surprise cameos ARE fun! (Note: Other reviewers will spill the beans about certain cameo appearances. I will not. You’re welcome.) And the soundtrack includes some cool EDM.
Not “cameos,” per se, because they appear in the trailer: Benedict Cumberbatch as an androgynous model looks like Voldemort during his brief appearance. Justin Beiber as himself manages to hang on for a selfie before he makes his final exit.
The 2001 Zoolander movie was relentless as it poked fun at the fashion industry. Stiller and Wilson were hilarious as clueless male models. Will Ferrell, as goofy looking villain Mugatu, was a hoot. Try though it may, the new version just does not connect. (Stiller, by the way, directed both films.)
During their 15-year absence, Derek constructed a building in NYC. The building collapsed, killing his wife and disfiguring Hansel. Unfortunately, the shots of a building falling down in New York City recall the real-life event that happened two weeks before the release of the first Zoolander.
In Z-2, Derek and Hansel are dispatched to Rome to be part of a fashion show. But the focus of the film is on Derek’s effort to reconnect with his son (who just happens to be in a Rome orphanage). Mugatu is now in a “fashion prison” which, amusingly, is built to resemble a giant thimble.
The film’s climax involves a quasi-religious ritual involving real life fashion industry figures.
Penelope Cruz appears as a gorgeous Interpol agent. An unrecognizable Kristen Wiig is an oddly-attired fashionista. (She looks almost like the late Tammie Faye Baker.) Keifer Sutherland is the leader of Hansel’s diverse “orgy crew.”
Some sequels are better left unmade. Zoolander 2 might’ve been a good idea on paper. But on film, not a good idea.