February 13, 2016

Movie Review: Zoolander 2

Fifteen years ago the world was introduced to the somewhat inspired lunacy of Derek Zoolander and Hansel. The movie was not terribly well received, but has gathered something of a cult fandom over the years, sort of like Anchorman or Austin Powers. The problem is that, for some reason (most likely the idea of money), they have decided to revisit the character and return to the big screen with the cleverly titled Zoolander 2. Now, much like the sequel to Anchorman, the new film feels overlong, overdone, nowhere near as funny. Rather than try to make a new movie, they just try to outdo the original, the finished project feels more like an entry in the Sharknado series, filled with cameos trying to prop it up as an entertainment.

Zoolander 2, co-written/directed/starring Ben Stiller in his return to the role, does not have much of a plot so much as it is a string of gags and cameos strung along a clothesline of a plot thread. Now, the movie makes about as much sense as that sentence does. When one of your characters says something along the lines of “That is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. Do you actually believe that crap?” you should realize the writers really don’t know where they are going or where they came from. That dialogue pretty much sums up the whole thing.

I sat there trying to enjoy it, waiting for something funny to happen, wanting to see what I saw fifteen years ago. It was not to be. It does not seem to be for a lack of effort, it was just not something that still translates. There were some funny ideas that never panned out. It is like they were intent on having some big, grandiose plot to wrap around the characters, when all they really needed was some funny scenarios that build up to make a point.

The story involves the idea of rock stars protecting the chosen one, a living fountain of youth sought after by all the big names in the fashion world. It is up to Zoolander and Hansel, working with Penelope Cruz of Interpol, to uncover what is going on and stopping it. It is just too much. As for the buried good ideas, think about the fact that it starts off with Zoolander and Hansel in exile, retired from the modeling world, and when they return, they are confused by the new youth, their slang, the technology. Sadly, this is over and done in about five minutes. The whole idea of reintegration could have made a nice plot on its own.

I honestly wanted to like this. We need more stupid comedy with some intelligence behind it. We can use characters who aren’t burdened with cynicism. Derek Zoolander has a certain innocence about him, I like that. I just wish the movie used it more to its advantage.

Zoolander 2 is a movie that has very little to say, does not do much of anything, and fails to have any sort of impact. It quickly becomes a stream of flat jokes and celebrity cameos masquerading as entertainment. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Not Recommended.

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