Our favorite, really-really-ridiculously-good-looking dummy, Zoolander, is BACK! But in addition to his signature looks and hilarious stupidity is an over-complicated plot crippled by terrible editing.
Derek Zoolander is debatably one of Ben Stiller’s greatest characters, if not his most quotable. A rare phenomenon, the first “Zoolander” film seemed to get better with subsequent viewings, and even better when your friends began re-enacting iconic scenes at random times. (such as when filling the gas tank or passing any small architectural model.) It’s surprising that it took fifteen years for a sequel to be produced, a fact mirrored by a (likely factually) statistic in the opening credits regarding high school students. While sequels to cult classics are often desired, they rarely deliver a comparable experience.
Stiller is a very talented writer, actor, and director but he has trouble hitting the mark consistently. He directed the first Zoolander, and shared writing credits. A few years later he followed up with the insanely funny “Tropic Thunder” which he also wrote and directed. For “No. 2”, he again directs and shares writing credits, this time with Justin Theroux.
This sequel is a very uneven ride. Absolutely nothing is consistent. The best thing about it are the cameos and crazy characters that inhabit their fashion world. Benedict Cumberbatch and Kristen Wiig are amazing in criminally small parts. But instead of focusing on these great new characters, the story reverts back to characters in the previous film that just don’t fit the convoluted plot involving a human sacrifice that may grant eternal youth and Zoolander trying to regain custody of his son after his wife died. (fun stuff, eh?) Even some of the cameos are ruined by bad lines or even worse greenscreens. (especially Neil deGrasse Tyson’s) It’s likely a logistical nightmare to coordinate so many cameos in a single film. But when it becomes so apparently between bad editing and clunky reaction shots, that half of the people talking in a scene were never in the same room together, maybe it’s a sign to cut back on cameos and work on the overall quality of the movie.
There are definitely some flashes of genius, some legitimately funny moments, and without a doubt some really, really, good looking people in “Zoolander 2” Unfortunately they wasted too much effort on cheap gimmicks and lazy writing than making a movie audiences would be proud to randomly quote for the next decade.