Zoolander No. 2

 

starHalf



Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson return for more moronic hijinks in the world of the fashion 

industry, with Penélope Cruz joining them as an Interpol agent.


It’s one thing to set a comedy in the world of high fashion – the industry is asking for it. It’s another to resurrect Zoolander (2001) now that Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are, respectively, aged 50 and 47, and to turn the whole thing into a spy spoof. Well, there’s an idea. Let’s make fun of the world of international espionage and terrorism and place two complete idiots in the middle of it. It’s been done. To death. 

 

Zoolander No. 2

The look's the thing: Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson goof off

 

Actually, death seems to be a preoccupation with Ben Stiller, the film’s director, co-producer and co-writer. He reprises his role of Derek Zoolander, the male model and halfwit who made his fortune on the back of his facial ‘look,’ the so-called ‘Blue Steel.’ But since then he has inadvertently killed the love of his life (played by the real-life Mrs Stiller, Christine Taylor), by erecting a children’s library made of the same materials as its scale model. Inevitably, the building collapsed two days after its opening, causing widespread destruction and lightly disfiguring Zoolander’s best mate, Hansel (Owen Wilson). Consequently, Zoolander and Hansel have parted their ways, the former becoming a “hermit crab” and retiring to the snowy wastes of New Jersey, while Hansel has moved to an Unchartered Malibu Territory to shack up with Kiefer Sutherland, a dwarf and nine other unlikely live-in lovers. But Death brings the goons back together when a slew of pop idols (Madonna, Demi Lovato, Justin Bieber) are murdered with the ‘Blue Steel’ look transfixed on their dying faces.

 

While there is a degree of comic mileage to be levered from famous cameos, the stunt quickly becomes threadbare. In fact, in this overblown, one-note tsunami of silliness, everything wears thin, suffocating any genuinely good jokes along the way. While it’s game of Kiefer Sutherland to play himself impregnated by Owen Wilson, and for Billy Zane to play Billy Zane reduced to the position of a postman, it’s a running gag that has little traction. Further cameos by Susan Sarandon, John Malkovich and Lewis Hamilton are rendered completely pointless, other than to stoke Ben Stiller’s ego. Much like Derek Zoolander’s facial expression, the film is a one-dimensional express ride of the ludicrous and improbable, with Theodore Shapiro's bombastic and relentless music determined to wipe that smile off your face. Still, the Rome locations and Penélope Cruz look nice.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penélope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Sting, Milla Jovovich, Cyrus Arnold, Kyle Mooney, Benedict Cumberbatch.

 

Dir Ben Stiller, Pro Stuart Cornfeld, Scott Rudin, Ben Stiller and Clayton Townsend, Screenplay John Hamburg, Ben Stiller, Nick Stoller and Justin Theroux, Ph Dan Mindel, Pro Des Jeff Mann, Ed Greg Hayden, Music Theodore Shapiro, Costumes Leesa Evans.

 

Red Hour Films/Scott Rudin Productions-Paramount Pictures.

101 mins. USA. 2016. Rel: 6 February 2016. Cert. 12A.