You know a film is in trouble when the opening scene involving the death of Justin Bieber in front of Sting’s villa and previously seen bits from the trailer are the only highlights. Ben Stiller and co decide after a wait of 15 years to return to the world of the ridiculously good-looking Derek Zoolander. Sequels which wait for over a decade to happen rarelyturn out being good except a certain recent sequel involving wars in space.
Zoolander has decided to live as a hermit crab up in the “extreme northern” New Jersey after a tragedy that happened at”Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good” which involved the death of his wife. Billy Zane gets him to get back into modelling business, Owen Wilson’s Hansel also got invited to the same fashion show and they are reunited. Naturally however the fashion world has changed and the “hottest” thing is All (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is a gender neutral (not transgendered as reported in the press) model. Zoolander agreeds to come back to the industry so he could the custody back of Derek Jr. after the tragedy. Mugatu (Will Ferrell) is held up in a fashion prison but of course he has some tricks up his sleeve and one of those might be killing off pop stars.
The film suffers the similar fate that Anchorman 2 had, most of the jokes are either jokes about the fact celebrity X has a cameo in the film or are just poor retreads of the jokes from the original film. Anchorman 2 however under the right amount of alcohol consumption reveals a far superior film to Zoolander 2 as I found at a sneak preview where the attendees were given whiskey. They also both came out far too late in relation to the popularity of the first films and the celebrity cameos far outweight the laugh ratio and Zoolander 2 falls well under Kermode’s 6 laugh count for a comedy which is good indicator if it works.
The original film was a spot on satire on the vacuous nature of the fashion industry. I watched both the original and this sequel back to back and despite not seeing the original in probably 10 years it still works and is still funny. Zoolander 2‘s greatest satirical moments is seeing Justin Bieber getting killed and the send-up of the trend of gender neutral models and jokes about Bieber dying are just so last year. Not even the presence of Penelope Cruz who oozes charisma can save this sinking ship but then again her roles in English language films are always sub par.
All in all Zoolander 2 should have been left in the unmade pile. You know it’s not a good idea when instead of David Bowie (who appeared in an inspired cameo in the original) the filmmakers have to settle for that faux new waver turned adult contemporary star Sting to be the big rock star cameo. Fred Armisen’s cameo as a child is just disturbing and is reminiscent of that film Little Man which is all you really need to know about the Zoolander 2.