Posted in Film Review

One Mann’s Movies Film Review: Zoolander 2 (2016)

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In September 2001, a comedy classic opened in cinemas. Unfortunately, thanks to Al Qaeda, noone went to see it. Albeit coming in second place for box office in its opening weekend it drew in a paltry $15M and went on to do a feeble $61M worldwide. Ben Stiller must have been fuming. Fortunately, DVD sales and word of mouth brought with it a post-release revenue stream and its positive reputation.

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Ridiculously good looking… and Penelope Cruz isn’t bad either!

Now, 14 years later, the team are back in Zoolander 2 (or 2-lander). Conscious of its history, the film starts with a hilarious spoof on 9-11 (too soon?), when Derek Zoolander’s ‘Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good’ in New York collapses into the Hudson with devastating personal consequences.

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Stylish in defeat. ‘Old’ Derek and ‘Lameé’ Hansel

Wind forwards to the present day and both Zoolander and his equally ridiculously good-looking colleague Hansel are both living reclusive lives away from the fashion world. In terms of the ‘plot’ that brings them back into the real world, its all pretty incomprehensible – a loosely linked set of components:

  • There is a string of assassinations of pop stars, starting with Bieber (never too soon), all of who die pulling a Zoolander pose;
  • There is evil fashion guru Mugatu (Will Ferrell), incarcerated in a high security fashion prison (an enormous thimble with associated needle!) but plotting with his fashion-house accomplice Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig) to find the fountain of youth. (This plot riffs rather clumsily on a ‘Da Vinci code’ theme);
  • There is Derek’s search for his estranged son; 
  • All tied together with Valentina Valencia (Penelope Cruz) as the ex-swimsuit model cum Interpol agent (Fashion division) trying to get to the bottom of everything. 

Like I said, incomprehensible.

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It will come as no surprise, dear viewer, that Ben Stiller had a hand in writing this script!

The film is absolutely stuffed full of cameos. Some of these are hilarious – Kiefer Sutherland’s in particular, channelling a gay Jack Bauer. Many others are ‘stars’ largely unknown to non-Americans and/or dedicated followers of fashion. Unfortunately too many times in the film the cameos have the effect of bringing the comedy/action to a grinding halt, particularly in the finale.

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All for one and one for all. Cumberbatch, a long way from Sherlock and Khan.

On the plus side, the film is gorgeous to look at (and here I’m not JUST talking about Penelope Cruz in a red-leather bike suit). It appears at times to be more like a Bond film with its swooping location shots, sharp editing and clever camera work. It also successfully riffs, Austin Powers-style, on the tech-changes that have happened since our heroes have been absent from the world: small phones are now out; huge iPads are in! And (for me) the 90’s ad for ‘Aqua Vitae’, with Zoolander and Naomi Campbell, was the funniest thing I’ve seen at the cinema in a long while.

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Ferrell had fallen asleep in the tattoo parlour and now he was pissed: he’d only come in for “Mum” on his arm.

Whilst it was enjoyable as a long-overdue return to these characters, some of the jokes were more miss than hit. While it’s fair to say my wife enjoyed it enormously, I found it rather more tepid. An opportunity missed. Given that we were the ONLY people in the cinema on a Wednesday evening watching it, it has appeared to be a miss at the box office as well: in a curious case of history repeating itself, it’s opening weekend box office was also $15M.

Fad Rating:  FFF.

But What Did You Think?  Do You Agree With My Rating And Comments?  Please Let Me Know By Commenting Below!

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