Director: Ben Stiller
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Benedict Cumberbatch
Written by: Justin Theroux, Nicholas Stoller, John Hamburg, (also based on the characters created) Ben Stiller and (based on the characters created) Drake Sather
Running Time: 102 mins
Release date: 12th February 2016
15 years ago, a very small comedy from Ben Stiller hit our screens with a whimper more than a bang. Zoolander, the story of an incredibly good-looking male model, didn’t exactly ignite the box office and it disappeared without too much fuss. Thankfully, DVD came along and introduced the spoof of the fashion industry to a much larger audience and the film became a huge cult hit, now regarded as a comedy great. After several false starts, the sequel is finally here and has it managed to better the first film or has old age slowed it down.
Somebody is killing good-looking rock stars, who all leave a selfie with the face of Blue Steel, a trademark look that once belonged to male supermodel, Derek Zoolander. The fashion police need to find him, yet he has become a recluse, after his wife died and his son, Derek Jr, was taken away from him. Now, with the help of his former rival, Hansel, the pair return to discover that the world is a very different place and they are no longer regarded as the best. With the help of former swimwear model and now cop, Valentina, they soon find out the face behind the murders and an old adversary.
When the first Zoolander came out, we were in a time where comedies were reasonably funny and where every joke wasn’t reliant on gross or innuendo. 15 years on, and comedies have become pretty lame where the F-word is regarded as hilarious and the sight of a male member is seen as the height of comedy gold. Which is why, in a very strange way, it is refreshing to have Derek and Hansel back. Stiller hasn’t done anything too different to these now aging models and most of the jokes rely on knowledge of the first film. Yet there was something nice about watching this patchy sequel: genuine laughs.
The film does have jokes that work, even if they are at the expense of Derek’s lack of intelligence (a scene in which he is shown pouring tomato sauce over dried spaghetti while asking “How did she make it so soft?” maybe silly but it did bring a giggle) or the huge amount of cameo appearances that pop up throughout the film, from those in fashion to pop and film stars. Around every corner is another famous face. Kicking off with the death of Justin Bieber, after being shot several time, spending his dying moments finding the right setting for his Instagram photo is a hoot, to the mysterious phone calls, dropping clues based on songs by Sting, the film goes into overdrive.
Not that all the jokes work and Stiller does stray into slightly smuttier waters, which proves that gags about erections aren’t half as clever as most comedies think they are. The plot is as contrived and non-sensical as they can be, with subplots about Hansel’s obsessions with orgies and Derek’s search for his long-lost son (“You can find him”, says Valentina, “it’s called Facebook!”), yet all the while you are swept along but the sheer fun of the film. Something rare in modern comedies: characters that you like sharing time with.
The cast is full-on. Stiller and Owen Wilson return as Derek and Hansel, in a comedy partnership that just works, without actually understanding how. Their banter is hilarious and they understand how to deliver a killer punchline. Penelope Cruz also brings a nice self-deprecating edge to the film as Valentina, the swim wear model who never made it into print or catwalk and even though she is the straight guy to Stiller and Wilson, she is just as funny. Kristen Wiig almost steals the film as a fashion guru who can hardly speak due to Botox, while Will Ferrell’s Mugata is just as outrageous as he was in number 1.
Not as funny as the first film, it still has plenty of moments that made me laugh out loud, a rarity in these times of films like Dirty Grandpa, Zoolander 2 may not be everyone’s taste but you will have a good time watching people being really, really silly and any film in which Kiefer Sutherland announces he is pregnant is worth paying for any day.