Action / Comedy
Action / Comedy
After many years of being separated from modeling and each other, Derek and Hansel are dragged back into the fashion world in Rome. After being humiliated on the runway by the people behind the scenes, Derek and Hansel decide to quit the business . . . until retired swimsuit model, Valentina, drags them back in with questions about recent celebrity deaths. Soon after, Derek also realizes out that the son who was taken from him is in Rome, and is much dismayed to find that Derek, Jr. is fat. And smart. Regardless, Derek, Sr. continues his mission with Hansel, which leads them to the fashion-model legends of "Adam, Eve, and Steve", and the "Chosen One". Who is that person? Why do the models drink the Chosen One's blood? Will Derek's and Hansel's careers resume?
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May 11, 2016 at 02:35 PM
What a waste of time
As a big fan of the original with respect for many of these filmmakers, Zoolander 2 was one of the worst sequels I've ever seen. I think with the sudden trend of sequels to classic comedies like Joe Dirt and Anchorman, as well as Ben Stiller's desire to be relevant again, he decided to make something guaranteed to make some money in the box office. But it is clear that they approached the project with no artistic integrity. It was well into the second act that I realized I had not laughed at a single joke. Clearly there is a format for the Zoolander comedy type in which silly phrases are repeated, people misunderstand one another, and characters make connections through absurd or ironic interactions. And there were a few times where the dialogue was witty, but almost every gag was a direct reference to the first film or a pop-culture reference. The pop culture references fell flat on every attempt, and direct allusions to the original are in my opinion a cop out in order to avoid writing an actually funny film. I must admit the last 40 minutes or so upped the ante a bit, but I still couldn't see any reason to make this film. Subplots about both models becoming fathers, the side characters in the fashion world, and the overly dramatic production/soundtrack, all fell flat as well. I was really hoping that this film would have something to it, but sadly it was just another pointless homage to a classic film which the world could have done without. A silly sequel a few years after is kind of worthy of forgiveness, but 15 years later is embarrassing. These filmmakers are capable of much, much more.
Just a Money Grab
I don't expect a lot from Stiller's comedies. His everyman persona works at times (Night at the Museum movies, the first Meet the Parents film) and other times it doesn't (Walter Mitty, Meet the Parents sequel). However, Zoolander has a special place because of the cult aspect of the film. The first movie was quirky, original, and made excellent use of cameos and actors poking fun at themselves (David Duchovny takes special note). Zoolander 2, ick. After 15 years I would expect something better. The makers of movies that wait over a decade for sequels like this and the Anchorman sequel seem to think you can just put the character on the screen and fans will pay to see it. Both films suffer from some pretty lame writing with only sparse funny bits. The main actors hold the movie up by the sheer weight of their likeability, but its not enough. If you couldn't do it justice, just don't do it.
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Tries and Fails to Revisit the Spirited Satire of the Original
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are back on the runway as male models Derek Zoolander and Hansel, perhaps sporting a few extra wrinkles around the eyes. The original Zoolander was a sleeper hit, pulling a shocking number of laughs from what seemed like a very thin concept, and its delayed sequel, unfortunately, pales in comparison. Like many folllow-up efforts from the same genre (Austin Powers and The Hangover, I'm looking at you here) Zoolander 2 falls into the trap of constantly re-hashing the gags that worked the first time. Why innovate when the well's right there waiting for your return, after all? What new material it does bring to the screen is often good for a chuckle, but not deep enough to mine for richer material. Benedict Cumberbatch's gender-bending role as a competing supermodel is a great example. We get about three minutes of big laughs from the character, but then he's spent and is cast aside. Even the returning faces seem lighter and less interesting, particularly Will Ferrell's big-haired fashion mogul, Mugatu. They're propped up with sight gags and cheap one-liners, but there's no masking the lack of inspiration in their writing and performance. Humor arrives in sprinkles throughout this film, like a series of not-quite-ready pitches for an upcoming episode of SNL, but that's not good enough to make up for a bland, obvious storyline and an aimless, meandering pair of central character arcs. Pointless and under-cooked, or maybe over-cooked, considering how long it was left to incubate. Whatever the cause, it's a swing and a miss.