Zoolander 2

Year: 2016
Production Co: Red Hour Films
Studio: Paramount
Director: Ben Stiller
Producer: Scott Rudin
Writer: Justin Theroux/Ben Stiller/Nicholas Stoller/John Hamburg/Drake Sather
Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Will Ferrell, Christine Taylor, Kristen Wiig, Kiefer Sutherland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Justin Bieber, Christiane Amanpour, Anna WIntour, Milla Jovovich, Justin Therous, Jerry Stiller, Billy Zane, Matt Lauer, Susan Boyle, Fred Armisen, Olivia Munn, Skrillex, Naomi Campbell, Christina Hendricks, Ariana Grande, Willie Nelson, Katy Perry, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sting, Alexander Skarsgård, MC Hammer, John Malkovich, Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, Kate Moss, Lenny Kravitz, Demi Lovato, Susan Sarandon

Magic Mike, the rest of the Jaws franchise, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, Highlander II – the tradition of great movies whose sequels sucked is long and proud, and is now joined by Zoolander 2.

Yes, Derek (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) were dumb characters – both of the movie and in it – and nothing about the original Zoolander should have worked. But it did with a combination of brute force behind the jokes about vacuous and stupid male models and an approach that seemed to have a genuinely underground and scrappy feel to it that made the laughs even more appreciated.

Something kept it from being a stupid, unfunny, cookie-cutter big studio comedy, but whatever care or creative approach was taken to mitigate against that is completely missing here. Everything from the premise to the jokes feels like they've come straight from an executive greenlight meeting because there was a release date and enough money in petty cash to throw at it.

All of which makes it surprising that Ben Stiller is the creative brains behind it all, like he was on the first film. Maybe after his passion project The Secret Life of Walter Mitty fizzled he's just lost his nose for good material.

Derek and Hansel are both living in remote isolation (in the funniest joke in the film, Derek's snowy, windswept home turns out not to be the Caucasus Mountains or the Siberian tundra but northern New Jersey, Hansel's desert yurt in the boiling sands in the 'Uncharted Malibu Territories').

Someone's killing the pop stars of the world, and the one thing in common is their use of Derek's signature look Blue Steel as they die. Interpol fashion police, led by former swimsuit model Valentina (Penélope Cruz), ropes Derek and Hansel back into modelling to infiltrate the fashion world and find out what's going on.

The story is dumb, but that would be forgivable if the jokes were any good. There's nothing nearly as subversive or even as funny as the gasoline fight (for instance) from the original and despite a few chuckles you come out thinking you've once again been had by a studio giving money to supposedly funny people.

A raft of Hollywood stars are trotted out to up the 'spot-the-cameo' factor from the first movie, and I'll bet many of them wished their contracts had said they got to approve their scenes before they went into the final cut.

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