Zoolander 2 Movie Review
There is a lot of hate in the world in these days. A lot of tension. A lot of unrest and even more disagreement. Whether it be Trumpian bombs or Putin-esque propagonda, World War III has never felt closer. And then along comes Zoolander 2, the sort-of long-awaited comedy that appears to be evoking all levels of anger and hate from critics, as if this 13-years-too-late sequel actually had a chance of matching the Ben Stiller-in-his-prime original.
Sure, Zoolander 2 is no Godfather sequel. It rehashes jokes fans have spent the last 15 years watching over and over again. It tries too hard at times to be fresh and relevant in an age where comedy expectations have changed. And it relies on a plot that is overly zany, even for a movie about an idiotic male model who can stop throwing stars with his trademark expression.
But it’s funny. Not awwmygawdthatwasssssuhmazing funny, but it’s funny. You may not agree--plenty of other critics certainly didn’t, the poor bastards (there’s nothing worse than sitting through a comedy you don’t find funny)--but Zoolander 2 has enough laughs to keep it running forward, even if it occasionally stumbles or even flatlines as a result.
Some jokes work, others don’t, but when you’re dealing with stupid comedy such as this, that’s going to happen. The movie, which is once again directed by Ben Stiller and stars Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell and Penelope Cruz (we discover early on that Zoolander’s wife, played by Christine Taylor in the first movie, was crushed to death by The Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too due to shoddy construction), thrives in the first act, struggles mightily in the second (highlighted, or lowlighted, by a lame joke in which former swimsuit model Cruz reveals that she can swim as fast as a dolphin) and recovers some as the climax gets underway.
The movie is filled--and I mean filled--with celebrity cameos, which typically are used to gloss over shoddy writing. Maybe that’s the case here, but the cameos largely work, even if many underdeliver on their potential. Even though some are head-scratching (look for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-her appearance by pop singer Ariana Grande as a ball gag-loving bondage girl, or a why-is-Fred-Armisen’s-face-CGI’d-onto-a-boy’s-body moment?), others, such as repeated gags involving a lovestruck and depressed Kiefer Sutherland or an utterly creepy Benedict Cumberbatch as a genderless model, hit their mark.
All this writing could be summed up in much less words: Zoolander 2 isn’t a great movie, but it’s an amusingly funny sequel that is no better or worse than you should have expected it to be. It definitely is not deserving of the war-level hatred some are spewing at it. Can’t we all just get along?
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.