Zoolander 2 movie full length review - I'm Sure Ben Stiller Meant Well but Zoolander 2 is Not Very Funny and Was Made Years Too Late
Its crazy to think that Zoolander was made 15 years ago. I don't remember it very well, I thought it was decent at the time, it wasn't my favourite Ben Stiller movie (Tropic Thunder) but it was okay.
I do remember how it had a big following and I'm not surprised they made a sequel. I'm just surprised it took this long to make. I still went into Zoolander 2 with low expectations, the word of mouth on it wasn't exactly stellar but I always try to keep an open mind. I can't help but think that this one was made for the die-hard fans of the original but I'll get into more about that later.
*Minor Spoilers Ahead* It's been 15 years since the original Zoolander and after the assassination of Justin Bieber, who is mysteriously gunned down outside of Sting's house in Rome. The mystery surrounding his death confuses the Interpol Fashion Division and their lead agent Valentina Valencia (Penelope Cruz) as there have been a rash of murders of famous pop stars and they all have mysteriously died with their final expression being Derek Zoolander's famous "Blue Steel" look.
We then flash to a summary of what has happened to Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and his rival Hansel (Owen Wilson) leading up to present day. Soon after the events of the first movie, Derek's wife Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor) died tragically in the collapse of the school that they built together, The Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Who Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too which Derek had constructed out of the same materials that he made the model of the school out of. The accident unfortunately disfigured Hansel and triggered a downward spiral for Derek. His inability to parent his son Derek Jr. led to him being taken away from him and Derek decides to live out his days as a "hermit crab." Derek is content until Billy Zane delivers a message to him that he's in demand again and that he's been invited to take part in a fashion show for current fashion icon Don Atari. Billy Zane also delivers the same message to Hansel who is more than eager to run away as he's impregnated several members of his orgy including Keifer Sutherland. Both of them take the gig and meet up at the airport. They bicker and come to terms with the fact that they're working together again. They head out and meet up with Don Atari (Kyle Mooney) who is excited for their arrival.
The most impressive thing about Zoolander 2 for me is the sheer number of people that Ben Stiller was able to assemble in the cast. They have new cast members like Penelope Cruz but the cameos are almost endless: Katy Perry, Kiefer Sutherland, Sting, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Neil DeGrasse-Tyson, Benedict Cumberbatch and that's just some of them. I didn't find many of them particularly funny or memorable (actually Benedict's is just because his part is so crazy) but it's impressive nonetheless.
The actual cast of the movie is serviceable, I can't say that anyone is amazing or Oscar worthy but I didn't think there were any terrible performances either. Neither Ben Stiller nor Owen Wilson are stretching but they're consistent. They know how to play these roles, I just didn't find them funny. Penelope Cruz doesn't really gel with the dumb fun tone of the movie. She's not a comedienne by trade and it shows but at least she's trying. Will Ferrell returns as Mugatu and he's okay, other than Stiller and Wilson, he seems like the only one who gets what the movie is going for. Kristen Wiig on the other hand was a weird addition, she gets almost nothing to do and it seemed like a waste having her in such a small part.
My dislike of the movie boils down to 2 problems. The first is that the plot is really stupid. I get that's point and you don't have to have an award winning screenplay to make a great comedy (I like a lot of Will Ferrell's movies which have similarly dumb plots) but for a movie that took so long to get made, I would thought there might have been a little more to work with than this. Even Mugatu calls out how stupid the story the movie is built on is in a meta joke, it doesn't make up for it though. The other problem is that the movie isn't funny. I barely laughed at all, maybe a couple of times here and there but not nearly enough. The most positive thing I can say is that it's more of what fans of the first would want. If that's what the movie wanted to do, I think they achieved it but it didn't do it for me.
I remember that this movie was going up against Deadpool the weekend it was released. It got smoked and after seeing it, maybe rightly so. I'm not generally a big Ben Stiller fan but it would have been nice if this had been a great movie to reward the fans of the original for the wait. I can't recommend this and in giving it a 4, I think I'm being generous. It's not much better than The Boss and I can't imagine I'll be watching it again.