Director: Ben Stiller
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz
Count me as one of the relative few who absolutely loved Zoolander. Of those who watched it in the early 2000s, the majority found it to be a passing comedy, a ridiculous farce, fun but not great. A small group, most of who hated Ben Stiller coming in, found it to be the worst vision put in front of their eyes over the past decade. And then there are those of us who still view that film as a cult classic, as a spoof on too much to write down, as comedic genius with some of the most quotable lines of all time. But that doesn't mean I was excited about Zoolander 2, a sequel released fifteen years after the original, a film that was destined to fall short of its predecessor while struggling for 90 minutes to be an exact copy. Which is exactly what happened; the movie was desperate to capture the original magic, relied too heavily on past success, and so became a complete disaster.
Tragedy has struck the unique life of Derek Zoolander in the form of a giant book collapsing on everyone he holds dear. Derek's Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good was apparently very poorly built, and it crumbled to the ground, burying his wife Matilda, injuring his friend Hansel, and turning Zoolander's life upside down. His child was taken away, Derek retired from modelling, became a hermit, and disappeared. But there are those who will never let him rest, including his former adversary Mugatu. Derek & Hansel are both lured back into the business, now bitter enemies, but they must work together to save Derek's son from evil plots and the world from the cunning & manipulative guile of fashion.
There were exactly three funny aspects to this film, which I will relay to you now so you can spare yourself watching the entire feature, which is not worth your time. If sharing them is a spoiler, then consider yourself alerted. 1) Derek refers to himself multiple times without being corrected as a 'hermit crab', which is hilarious in its simplicity and lack of attention. 2) Kristen Wiig as an Italian designer who randomly changes every vowel of her speech completely steals the show. And 3) Sting lyrics are used as code and almost no one in the theatre understood what was going on since they were apparently too young to know Sting songs. That's about it; the rest of the movie is bad.
It's bad because it's desperate, and desperation has never been attractive. There is not a joke from the original film that is not exhumed and shocked back into a frightening semblance of life. The tiny phone, the orgies, the latte, the little dog, Billy Zane; it's all back and worse than ever. The movie is completely full of either failed old reference or failed new jokes, and never takes off as even a laughable romp. When a comedy is this humorless, you have to wonder what went wrong, who didn't see this coming, or perhaps who didn't care. Is Ben Stiller stuck in a comedic rut, did he just want to make some money, was this all about having a reunion with his old pals? Who knows, but save yourself some time and give the first film another shot, keeping an eye out for the magic that it had for a fleeting moment in time.