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Review: Zoolander 2

Zoolander 2
02.10.2016
4 10

 

PLOT: Models Derek Zoolander and Hansel are forced out of seclusion by Interpol when several of the world's most notable pop stars are murdered.

REVIEW: One thing I kept thinking during ZOOLANDER 2 was, "Did it really take them ten years to write that joke?" You have to assume the sequel has been in Ben Stiller's mind for at least that long, considering the original came out in 2001, so it's sort of startling to find the movie doesn't really have anything particularly clever or snappy up its sleeve. Especially glaring when you think about how mainstream the fashion industry is at this moment. (Aren't there about 100 reality shows set in that world?) Now, I know we're talking about a movie featuring characters who are completely idiotic, so the movie of course needs to sink to their level, but at the same time there's plenty of room for fun set pieces and ideas. ZOOLANDER 2 is as far from clever as you can get; it was made by people content to coast along on easy gags and aim for totally predictable targets. It's also a movie that figures when in doubt throw in a celebrity cameo, because those are automatically funny.

It's not a dreadful movie, though, and just because Ben Still and Owen Wilson are so comfortable in these characters' clothes they make for an enjoyable on-screen duo. There are a handful of very amusing bits throughout, although I can't say I ever laughed out loud at anything. (There's a car crash sequence that came pretty close.) It's just so very ho-hum; you keep waiting for it to knock a gag out of the park but such an incident never occurs. I'm not overthinking it, either, because I really enjoy the first ZOOLANDER, and that's a movie filled with dumb, easy jokes. Thing is, there was plenty in that movie that felt genuinely absurd, and the characters were lively. But if there is still freshness to be mined from Stiller's initial concept, he has not found it with ZOOLANDER 2.

The plot picks up some years after the original. Both Derek and Hansel are in hiding, the former because his beloved Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good collapsed almost immediately after it was built (because it was constructed with model glue and popsicle sticks) and killed his wife (Christine Taylor); the latter because his face was horribly injured in that same accident (a tiny scratch on his cheek). But the sudden assassinations of some of the world's biggest pop stars will force these two out of retirement, as a sexy Interpol agent (Penelope Cruz, looking like she's having fun but getting nothing funny to do) brings them in to help solve the case. This leads to a series of random subplots involving Zoolander's estranged son (Cyrus Arnold, who is chubby, hence bears the burden of too many fat jokes), the alleged fountain of youth, a mysterious "chosen one," a Donatella Versace-esque designer (Kristen Wiig) and, of course, Zoolander's old nemesis Mugatu (Will Ferrell), who is unsurprisingly revealed to be behind all the nefarious doings.

For a movie that revels in imbecility, the plot turns out to be too overstuffed by half, as if Stiller and his three co-writers kept throwing story threads against the wall and found that they all stuck. It's not like we care much about the plot anyway, so all these moving parts are unnecessary. It wouldn't be so glaring if these tangents amounted to inspired moments, but ZOOLANDER 2 isn't up to the challenge, and none of what goes on here makes an impression. There's no walk-off or gasoline fight equivalent, just to name two of the more memorable bits of lunacy from the first. There's a running gag about an orgy Hansel is in a relationship with - yes, he's committed to an entire orgy - but even that gets old after a while.

There are celebrity cameos at every turn; a handful are humorous, most out-of-the-blue and gratuitous. Why is Susan Boyle in this movie? Has she been relevant at all in the last five years? Neil Degrasse Tyson shows up for no other reason than he is, as Mugatu would say, so hot right now. (It's not a funny moment, by the way.) The one you've probably heard about the most is Benedict Cumberbatch as an androgynous model named All; it's not as offensive as reported, but it's also barely worth mentioning. Someone likely said, "Wouldn't it be funny to put Benedict Cumberbatch in a wig? Yes, it would be." That's how I assume most of the jokes were written.

Stiller and Wilson give a decent showing, reprising their goofy characters with enthusiasm; Wilson is definitely the more energetic and even if much of his dialogue isn't funny, he manages to wring them most out of them with his airheaded line-readings. Stiller is okay but Derek isn't nearly as enjoyable of a character this time around. Wiig is certainly an interesting screen presence; she's borderline unrecognizable here, and speaks in exaggerated mumbles. The movie's best inclusion is Ferrell's Mugatu, as it significantly receives a boost of fun when he arrives (not until about halfway through, however). Mugatu is once again a pompous psychopath, screaming at every opportunity, but as in the first one his funniest bits are when he can't believe the stupidity on display around him. I know the feeling.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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8:03PM on 02/10/2016
The first film didn't strike me as hilarious as it seems it struck a lot of people. It feels more akin to a cult film than anything else, so I hardly expect a sequel to live up to it, much less be better. The trailer made me chuckle enough that I'll probably check this out when it goes to dvd.
The first film didn't strike me as hilarious as it seems it struck a lot of people. It feels more akin to a cult film than anything else, so I hardly expect a sequel to live up to it, much less be better. The trailer made me chuckle enough that I'll probably check this out when it goes to dvd.
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7:14PM on 02/10/2016
THUMBS UP FOR THE LOW SCORE REVIEW..."Someone likely said, "Wouldn't it be funny to put Benedict Cumberbatch in a wig? Yes, it would be." That's how I assume most of the jokes were written."

I thought the exact same thing when they had Ferrell kissing Wiig...Stiller and the other writers were thinking "People will find it funny when Ferrell kisses Wiig because they're doing it in a silly way!"...It's a pathetic attempt at humor like a fart joke. Something only elementary school kids will
THUMBS UP FOR THE LOW SCORE REVIEW..."Someone likely said, "Wouldn't it be funny to put Benedict Cumberbatch in a wig? Yes, it would be." That's how I assume most of the jokes were written."

I thought the exact same thing when they had Ferrell kissing Wiig...Stiller and the other writers were thinking "People will find it funny when Ferrell kisses Wiig because they're doing it in a silly way!"...It's a pathetic attempt at humor like a fart joke. Something only elementary school kids will find funny.
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3:58PM on 02/10/2016

Saw Early Screening

I will admit I was very skeptical going into the early screening after seeing the trailers. The first 30 mins in, my presumptions were proving correct, but then midway through the film something happened. It recovered tremendously! Kyle Mooney is the unsung hero in this and Will Ferrell brings it again as Mugatu (Kristen Wiig not so much) But right around the middle of the film, the story turns crazy ridiculous and as Zoolander fans will attest, the more absurd it got, the better. Started
I will admit I was very skeptical going into the early screening after seeing the trailers. The first 30 mins in, my presumptions were proving correct, but then midway through the film something happened. It recovered tremendously! Kyle Mooney is the unsung hero in this and Will Ferrell brings it again as Mugatu (Kristen Wiig not so much) But right around the middle of the film, the story turns crazy ridiculous and as Zoolander fans will attest, the more absurd it got, the better. Started poorly, finished strong!
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3:45PM on 02/10/2016
LOL, I am certain this film was reviewed by the wrong person. Should have had someone with a sense of humor review it.
LOL, I am certain this film was reviewed by the wrong person. Should have had someone with a sense of humor review it.
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2:59PM on 02/10/2016
Did anyone really expect this movie to be good?
Did anyone really expect this movie to be good?
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2:58PM on 02/10/2016
The film looks much better than any of the sequels to Anchorman, Horrible Bosses, and Dumb and Dumber. I'm glad that this film still has the same goofy, silly humor of the first and I'm sure this film will also have a 'cult' following like the original.
The film looks much better than any of the sequels to Anchorman, Horrible Bosses, and Dumb and Dumber. I'm glad that this film still has the same goofy, silly humor of the first and I'm sure this film will also have a 'cult' following like the original.
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4:45PM on 02/10/2016
idk why you group horrible bosses in with anchorman 2 and dumb and dumber to? Horrible bosses came out like 2 years after the original.. not 10 plus years, like Zoolander, Anchorman, and D and D. So the comparison doesn't make sense with horrible bosses here..
idk why you group horrible bosses in with anchorman 2 and dumb and dumber to? Horrible bosses came out like 2 years after the original.. not 10 plus years, like Zoolander, Anchorman, and D and D. So the comparison doesn't make sense with horrible bosses here..
2:10PM on 02/10/2016

Not many people love the original Zoolander or The Cable Guy like I do...

I will see this no matter what. I can't tell you how many people told me Zoolander was horrible along with the Ben Stiller directed The Cable Guy (Jim Carrey). Those ended up being two of my all time favorite comedies. Now, I loved the original Dumb and Dumber also and found the 2014 sequel to be unwatchable garbage so I understand that sequels, especially comedy sequels can wildly miss the mark. Here's hoping this is another gem even if the majority of people arent on board with the style of
I will see this no matter what. I can't tell you how many people told me Zoolander was horrible along with the Ben Stiller directed The Cable Guy (Jim Carrey). Those ended up being two of my all time favorite comedies. Now, I loved the original Dumb and Dumber also and found the 2014 sequel to be unwatchable garbage so I understand that sequels, especially comedy sequels can wildly miss the mark. Here's hoping this is another gem even if the majority of people arent on board with the style of humor.
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12:39PM on 02/10/2016
Saw an early screening of this last night and I must say I was pleasantly surprised how much I came out of this laughing. And unlike this review, yes a handful of times I laughed out loud.

I too thought the trailers for this made this movie look really bad, but the funniest bits fortunately stayed out of the trailers. If you liked the original, you going to enjoy this. This movie is not going to be some comedy classic, and perhaps me thinking this movie was going to end up as crap helped,
Saw an early screening of this last night and I must say I was pleasantly surprised how much I came out of this laughing. And unlike this review, yes a handful of times I laughed out loud.

I too thought the trailers for this made this movie look really bad, but the funniest bits fortunately stayed out of the trailers. If you liked the original, you going to enjoy this. This movie is not going to be some comedy classic, and perhaps me thinking this movie was going to end up as crap helped, but I had a fun time with this.
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12:44PM on 02/10/2016
That's good to know. Every time I saw a new joke on the trailers I kept telling them to "stop that shit." I hate when too much is given away.
That's good to know. Every time I saw a new joke on the trailers I kept telling them to "stop that shit." I hate when too much is given away.
12:34PM on 02/10/2016

Eric has a weird taste in movies anyways, go see this if you liked the first movie.

It honestly sounds like he "tolerated" the first Zoolander movie. So if he isn't a fan of that goofy humor of course he won't like the second helping. I laughed just as much during Z2 as I did the original. I think Eric likes to just give low scores to seem like a cinema snob instead of a third rate reviewer for a first class news site.
It honestly sounds like he "tolerated" the first Zoolander movie. So if he isn't a fan of that goofy humor of course he won't like the second helping. I laughed just as much during Z2 as I did the original. I think Eric likes to just give low scores to seem like a cinema snob instead of a third rate reviewer for a first class news site.
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2:46PM on 02/10/2016
I usually can just add two to his reviews and get the rating right.
I usually can just add two to his reviews and get the rating right.
11:55PM on 02/10/2016
Just because he has taste in humor doesn't make him a snob. Not everyone is gonna like the same thing. Get over and if anyone is a snob its you.
Just because he has taste in humor doesn't make him a snob. Not everyone is gonna like the same thing. Get over and if anyone is a snob its you.
12:16PM on 02/10/2016

One word...

Well, um, one word and one number... Anchorman 2.
Well, um, one word and one number... Anchorman 2.
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12:06PM on 02/10/2016
That's too bad. I don't know if I should take your review with a grain of salt or not, since you clearly are a fan of the original. Not having anything akin to the walk-off does sound like a missed opportunity though. At least they're still stupid, since that's kind of the point.
That's too bad. I don't know if I should take your review with a grain of salt or not, since you clearly are a fan of the original. Not having anything akin to the walk-off does sound like a missed opportunity though. At least they're still stupid, since that's kind of the point.
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12:03PM on 02/10/2016

wow

I'm surprised it even got a 4:10. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the original as much as the next guy but the trailers for the sequel have just be bad. Like really bad. Not one laugh out of me. The jokes are very outdated and it just seems more of a cash grab than anything. I cannot see this movie even making the box office top ten list on Monday.
I'm surprised it even got a 4:10. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the original as much as the next guy but the trailers for the sequel have just be bad. Like really bad. Not one laugh out of me. The jokes are very outdated and it just seems more of a cash grab than anything. I cannot see this movie even making the box office top ten list on Monday.
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12:45PM on 02/10/2016
Oh, so you saw the movie without having to see it did you? Ridiculous. The trailers according to the guy up there didn't reflect the movie at all.
Oh, so you saw the movie without having to see it did you? Ridiculous. The trailers according to the guy up there didn't reflect the movie at all.
3:55PM on 02/10/2016
Wont make the top ten!? LOL. Let's make a bet on that ridiculous statement. $1000.
Wont make the top ten!? LOL. Let's make a bet on that ridiculous statement. $1000.
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