I think we ought to be bracing ourselves now for a new era of Zoolander quotes, because Zoolander 2 is almost as quotable as the original!
Directed by Ben Stiller, this film definitely delivered some big laughs. They were a little slow to come, the first twenty minutes or so were a bit light on, but it definitely picks up after that. Without giving anything away, watching Derek (Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) try to make sense of the current “hipster” fashion world was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long while – and props to Kyle Mooney for his character Don Atari, who had me in stitches, and who I’m sure people will be quoting left, right, and centre.
The problem with a sequel to Zoolander, I think, is that by now we are familiar with the ridiculous characters of Zoolander’s ridiculous world, and the ridiculous plots they act out. The “How do they come up with this stuff?” feeling that the original movie inspired is no longer there, and that’s a real shame because that was one of the funniest aspects of the film. It’s the same problem Anchorman 2 suffered from, although I think in the case of Zoolander 2, they approached it in a better way. In an interview with Tony Jamison, Ben Stiller said “I didn’t want to try to out-weird [the first one], I just wanted to make something that was taking some chances the way the first one did.”
I’m not entirely sure what chances he took. Perhaps he meant the scene poking fun at gender-snobbery in the fashion industry via Benedict Cumberbatch’s androgynous “All” character – which certainly pushed the buttons of some uni students that aren’t thrilled about their genitalia.While I admire taking a risk here, given the constant conflict surrounding the ‘PC’ification of comedy, in this case the joke just genuinely wasn’t all that funny. The risk wasn’t worth that reward – not only does the joke walk a blurry line of making fun of a minority that’s not afraid to boycott your movie, it also just failed because of poor writing. They poked fun at fat people too, but then came good in the end by encompassing plus-sized models into the world of Male Modelling.
It’s great to see the familiar characters again, and the above mentioned Don Atari is solidly placed among Hansel, Derek, and Mugatu as Zoolander classics. Another new character is Alexany Atoz (Kirsten Wiig), who was chuckle-worthy, but ultimately amounted to little more than a funny voice and make-up. Penelope Cruz isn’t funny in it, so I really don’t know what to say about that. She looked good? There was very jarring bit of acting by her towards the end where she momentarily flips out for no reason then goes back to normal. Mugatu is an inch crazier in this movie, which lends itself well to big laughs. Seeing him dressed as a clown, slapping a plastic pig’s head as it squirts out lard, laughing psychotically and yelling “Squirt, piggy, squirt!” was one of his finer moments.
The last point I’ll touch on was the cameos. They were cringe-worthy. When Katy Perry sang “Who am I?” on a rooftop I felt a drop in the pit of my stomach. It was awful. Then Neil Degrass Tyson was there, and it was just so awkward and unfunny that I wanted to throw my soda at the screen. A re-edit of the film minus the phoned-in cameos would improve it.
I’m gonna say 5/10 and that I loved it, so make of that what you will.