Since the announcement in March 2015 of “Zoolander 2,” fans of the original “Zoolander” film have been anxiously anticipating the release of the movie with high hopes. With the return of Ben Stiller’s Derek Zoolander and Owen Wilson’s character Hansel, the 15-year wait came to an end.
After a tragedy that caused he and Hansel to go their separate ways, Zoolander has retired and lives as a hermit in New Jersey. It is only when he and Hansel are offered an opportunity to make a comeback walking for designer Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig) that the retired models return to their craft. Interpol Agent Valentina Valencia (Penelope Cruz) discovers Zoolander and recruits him to help her find out why some of the world’s most beautiful celebrities are posting photos of their Zoolander-esque facial expressions on social media shortly before their deaths. Zoolander and Hansel must juggle becoming famous again in an industry where they are seen as has-beens along with helping Valenicia, all while trying to reunite Zoolander with his long-lost son.
“Zoolander 2” is made primarily of the same idiotic, raunchy humor that the first movie had, including some jokes that might be a little too culturally sensitive (from the legalization of “self marriage” to jokes about white privilege and Al Qaeda). Besides the lead roles, the movie features more random celebrity extras than Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” music video, varying from Joe Jonas and Willie Nelson to Susan Sarandon and Susan Boyle. Most of these cameos stay onscreen for less than 30 seconds, and even the non-binary character All, played by Benedict Cumberbatch and who had been promoted in the television previews, is not in the film for more than a collective five minutes.
The movie did not live up to its expectations, as it tried to branch off in too many directions and lacked a good flow. The plot was boring and lackluster without the same male model satire, that made the first film entertaining. Hansel’s side story, including his marriage to 11 people (all of whom — men and women — are revealed to be pregnant with his children), was off-topic and distracting. Wiig’s outlandish accent was so exaggerated it was difficult to understand her most of the time. Many of the characters seemed unnecessary, such as the Kyle Mooney’s obnoxious Don Atari (the embodiment of the modern hipster) or Fred Armisen’s portrayal of 11-year-old VIP (in which Armisen’s face is edited onto a child’s body.)
I give “Zoolander 2” a 4 out of 10. What originally sparked interest in fans started off strong but went quickly downhill. The promising actors were tragically overshadowed by the boring storyline and lack of overall humor, and the sheer number of celebrity cameos was excessive. The writers should have stopped while they were ahead with cult classic “Zoolander” and let fans be with their own interpretations.