Director: Ben Stiller
Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell
Release: February 12, 2016
Review Author: Tony
Rating: 1.5/5 cans of Guinness
Generally the abundance of sequels, adaptations and reboots the past decade hasn’t really bothered me as much as others, although we are in need of more original projects. However many of us have films we hold sacred and would prefer for them to remain untarnished by any unnecessary sequels. Calling a sequel unnecessary can really be more a matter of opinion and for me I won’t label a sequel unnecessary until I’ve seen it and deem that it adds next to nothing to the original film. Unfortunately Zoolander 2 falls into this category.
The first Zoolander is one of my favourite comedies due to its superb cast of characters, silly and at time slapstick gags and its over the top parody of the fashion industry. When I heard a sequel was being made I was bewildered, its been fifteen years since the original film and much of the humour from the original felt like bottled lightning making any reproduction of the gags feel potentially redundant. Comedy sequels have a history of being more miss than hit and with Dumb and Dumber To (2014) released twenty years after the original being a prime example of an unnecessary sequel. Dumb and Dumber To was nowhere near as bad as many had predicted, in fact I felt the title characters were spot on and there were some decent laughs but it just couldn’t capture the dynamic of the first one and depended too much on nostalgia for laughs.
I finally worked up the courage to watch this film, I avoided it during its release and to be honest I was highly motivated to never see it. Curiosity finally got the better of me and with Ben Stiller as the director I thought it can’t be that bad. Could Zoolander against all odds churn out a decent follow-up or was it the train wreck I expected it to be, It was time I found out.
Zoolander 2 is a train wreck, but not quite the train wreck I expected. It’s not one of those high casualty train wrecks but more like a really expensive one that isn’t quite damaging enough to hurt anyone’s career. The opening of the film had me laughing more than I expected, it was entertaining to see what had happened between the original film and now. Initially Derek Zoolander and Hansel still had their charm and chemistry. Unfortunately the film surrounding our two leads is god awful. The first films plot was ridiculous, training male models as assassins to eliminate threats to the fashion industry, but it was presented hilariously in a zany but concise manner. The plot here is so overloaded you can practically see it bursting at the seams with human sacrifices, fountain of youth and Derek trying to reconnect with his son.
There are some humorous moments sprinkled throughout but many of the jokes miss the mark completely such as Hansel’s orgy relationship, an older actors face inexplicably CGI’d onto a child actor and Kristen Wiig doing an accent which never gets funny. The main issue is that instead of parodying male models and the fashion industry which works so well in the first film the second film drops this concept too quickly to instead focus on its stupid plot and shovel in as many cameos as possible. Apparently cameos = comedy.
Zoolander 2 tries to out do the original by being more silly and ridiculous but instead only comes across as stupid and dated. It certainly hasn’t impacted or tarnished the first film but it certainly adds nothing to it, it’s just an unnecessary follow-up. I’m not arguing against sequels, in fact quite the opposite. I will support most films which seek add to the original in some manner as some of my favourite films are sequels such as Aliens, Mad Max 2 and Evil Dead 2.