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Midvale Journal

Dan's Review: "Zoolander 2" is a tired, old joke

Feb 13, 2016 12:17PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Ben Stiller and Penélope Cruz in Zoolander 2 - © 2015 Paramount Pictures.

Zoolander 2 (Paramount)

Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, a scene of exaggerated violence, and brief strong language.

Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penélope Cruz, Kristen Wiig Sting, Fred Armisen, Christine Taylor, Cyrus Arnold, Kyle Mooney, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Beck Bennett, Nathan Lee Graham, Milla Jovovich, Katy Perry, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Christina Hendricks, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lewis Hamilton, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Jourdan Dunn, Ariana Grande, Susan Sarandon, Macaulay Culkin, Lenny Kravitz, Kendall Jenner, Kiefer Sutherland, Mika, Billy Zane, Skrillex, ASAP Rocky.

Written by John Hamburg, Ben Stiller, Nick Stoller, Justin Theroux.

Directed by Ben Stiller.



When you hear a good joke, you laugh. When you hear it again, it’s not as funny. When you hear it 15 years later, it’s even less funny. That’s the problem with the one-dimensional world of Zoolander, Ben Stiller’s personification of a shallow, dimwitted male supermodel. Timing in comedy is everything, it’s something lacking in Zoolander 2, the sequel to Stiller’s 2001 hit comedy.

Stiller plays Derek Zoolander, in hiding since the collapse of the “The Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Who Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too” killed his wife Matilda (Stiller’s wife Christine Taylor). His son Derek Jr. has been taken away by child services, since Derek Sr. wasn’t smart enough to make spaghetti. Meanwhile, Derek’s pal Hansel (Owen Wilson) has also gone into hiding with his favorite orgy mates (including Kiefer Sutherland) somewhere in the deserts of Malibu. When Justin Bieber is killed protecting an ancient secret in front of Sting’s Italian villa, Interpol’s Fashion division gets on the case, led by agent Valentina (Penélope Cruz). Valentina convinces Derek and Hansel to come out of hiding to help them catch who has been killing other celebrities (including Lenny Kravitz, Bruce Springsteen, etc.) whose last Instagram photos mimic Zoolander’s trademark “Magnum” pouty expression.

As they seek out the source of this evil plot, Derek is reunited with his long-lost son (Cyrus Arnold) and discovers that the evil Mugatu (Will Ferrell) is using fashionista mogul Atoz (Kristen Wiig) to track down Derek Jr. because the boy possesses the “Fountain of Youth” bloodline. Mugatu intends to sacrifice Derek Jr. and market his blood into a youth potion that will bring him great power.

Zoolander 2 has a few chuckles, but most of them involve the gags that paint the fashion industry and celebrity culture in a superficial light. Stiller’s charm and appeal have dropped off considerably since 2001 (the peak of his celebrity), and so has the idea of Zoolander. Yes, he’s still a self-absorbed and a true idiot. We get it. Such worn-out humor isn’t helped by endless celebrity cameos, even though killing off Justin Bieber has a certain poetry to it.

Zoolander 2 is a movie that should have been made 12 years ago. Now, it feels like a really old joke that you’ve heard too many times.

Zoolander 2 Trailer