So I watched Zoolander 2…
I’ve noticed that this film has been racking up quite a bit of hate from critics. I’ve even seen it placed on a few lists for Worst Movie of 2016. I think it’s far from as terrible as people have made it out to be. I don’t think it’ll reach the cult-status that the original did but it’s still full of laughs and entertainment.
Okay, basic plot: After tragically losing his wife and having his son taken away from him, Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) retires from modelling and goes into exile for several years. During this time, several pop stars are murdered all sporting Zoolander’s famous ‘Blue Steel’ look just moments before their death. This urges Interpol Agent, Valentina Valencia (Penélope Cruz) to track down Zoolander and obtain his help in solving the mysterious murders. Derek must once again join the world of high fashion alongside his best friend Hansel (Owen Wilson) in order to uncover yet another murder conspiracy involving the world of fashion and its top designers.
This film had me in stitches. I think I laughed harder – at certain points – than I did during the original. So as a comedy, this film worked for me because it had me consistently laughing. The problem is that the jokes came at the expense of the film’s story. This is a common occurrence in sequels – filmmakers are so focused on creating grander action, bigger gags, more expansive worlds that they forget to create a proper story to serve as the foundation for all these improvements. That’s where Zoolander 2 fails dismally, its story is horrendous. It feels sloppily put together and is plastered with coincidences and cliches in place of original thought and logic.
The jokes are also not nearly as intelligent as they were in the original. There’s a lot more slapstick and toilet-humour in this and I think that’s another reason it was rated so poorly. I loved this film’s style of humour because it felt like the writers and cast fully embraced the ridiculousness of the film. They tried to be as extreme as possible and push the envelope and, more times than not, it works out. It’s the moments where the jokes fall flat that are painful to bear. These moments aren’t that often but when they occur, they seem endless.
I think this film truly missed Christine Taylor as Matilda Jeffries – Zoolander’s wife from the original. She was the ‘straight man’ in the film and her sobering influence allowed you to appreciate the absurdity of Zoolander‘s comedy. In this film, everyone is crazy and wacky and – because of this – you lack a sense of contrast to highlight the film’s comedy. I wish Penélope Cruz’s character had been more conventional and filled that straight man role. There’s also far too many celebrity cameos in this film. In Zoolander, the cameos felt carefully selected and kept to a minimum to maximise their effect; in Zoolander 2 you’re flooded by their presence and they lose all meaning as a result.
Overall, Zoolander 2 made me laugh and when a comedy does that, it’s hard to consider it a failure. It’s nowhere near the complete film its predecessor was; but it’s good for a laugh or two. If it shows up on your TV screen, relax your brain and give it a watch. 6/10