Supermodel Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) has been largely forgotten since the peak of his fame ten years prior, so it is mysterious why his 'Blue Steel' facial expression has once again been popping up on the faces of assassinated pop stars. Interpol recruits Derek and his frenemy Hansel (Owen Wilson) as undercover investigators in "Zoolander No. 2"
Cowriter (with Justin Theroux, Nicholas Stoller and John Hamburg)/director Ben Stiller took fifteen years to return with a sequel to his bonkers "Zoolander," the extravagantly good looking male model, but as Heidi Klum would say 'As you know in fashion, one day you're in. And the next day, you're out.' An overworked plot that spirals into ridiculousness of the most unfunny kind drags down everything around it into a sucking vacuum, although little non sequiturs, jokes brought back from the original (like Hansel's orgy *slash* family), Stiller's facial tics and Wilson's good-natured cluelessness pop to the surface every now and then.
After a prologue where we witness the offing of Justin Bieber (the first of a zillion cameos), Stiller begins by catching up with the fifteen years that have passed. The Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too collapsed due to his insistence on it being built from the same materials as the architectural model, scarring Hansel and killing his wife Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor). The single father was caught on tape melting down over his inability to cook spaghetti for his young son, who was taken away by child care services. Flash forward to the frozen wastelands of 'extreme northern New Jersey' where Zoolander has retired as a 'hermit crab.'
His regular mailman has been replaced by Billy Zane who arrives bearing an invitation for the former model to work the latest show of Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig), fashion's latest queen bee (a Donatella Versace parody, surely, her designer named Don Atari (SNL's Kyle Mooney)). The same things happens to Hansel in the remote dunes of Malibu where he's freaking out having learned that all eleven of his orgy mates, including Kiefer Sutherland and a goat, are pregnant with his child. It's mostly all downhill from here.
There is the controversial appearance of Benedict Cumberbatch's model of indistinguishable gender, All, which has upset transgender groups (All is actually more of an androgyne), but he's more creepy than comical. Penélope Cruz's Interpol agent Valentina is all business, little fun and Derek's horror at discovering his son, housed in an Italian orphanage, is *fat* is only redeemed by Derek Jr.'s (Cyrus Arnold) conclusion that his old man is an idiot. The film's climax with Derek's nemesis Mugatu (Will Ferrell) is so awkward that Ferrell has to keep repeating the full names of fashion icons like Anna Wintour, Marc Jacobs and Valentino (whose 2015 Paris fashion week show famously featured a surprise runway appearance by Derek and Hansel) so that less fashion forward audience members will know who they are.
One can be kept busy watching the parade of celebrities. Susan Sarandon and Christina Hendricks show up to tempt Hansel into a new orgy, but most, like Bieber, Katy Perry, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Willie Nelson are playing themselves, but the original had David Bowie. Fred Armisen has been digitally shrunk into the body of an eleven year-old fashion assistant VIP. But once the film's been set up, we get more laughs from production and costume design than we do from its characters. Check out the walls of Mugutu's prison - 'No ruching.'
Robin did not see this film.
Home | Reviews and Ratings Archive | Top 10 | Video | Crew | Article | Links
Reeling has been chosen as a Movie Review Query Engine Top Critic.