May 25, 2016

Blu-Ray Review: ZOOLANDER 2

Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Farrell, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Sting, Fred Armisen and more cameos than there are stars in the heavens. Directed by Ben Stiller. (2016, 102 min).

As far as belated sequels to once-popular comedies go, Zoolander 2 is far from the worst one ever made (Blues Brothers 2000 holds that distinction), but still suffers from the same basic problem that plagues most others: Only so-much time can pass - in this case, 15 years - before relevancy becomes an issue, especially if what you’re offering is simply more of the same. The original Zoolander was an amusing one-joke comedy, but didn’t exactly set the box office on fire and could hardly be considered a classic. It found a wider audience on home video, but I doubt too many were really pining for further exploits of Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel McDonald (Owen Wilson). I could be wrong, of course.

After 15 years, it’s business as usual. Zoolander 2 begins with an admittedly funny sequence featuring a cameo by Justin Bieber (one of the film’s worst-kept secrets). Someone is killing beautiful celebrities around the world, at-least those taking duck-faced selfies. Interpol agent Valentina Valencia (Penelope Cruz) determines that only Derek and Hansel can help her uncover who’s behind the assassinations. It turns out all these dead rock stars have been trying to protect the decedent of Steve, who was at the Garden of Eden with Adam & Eve and whose bloodline can provide eternal youth. Since Will Farrell returns as Jacobim Magatu, I don’t think I’m spoiling who the culprit is.

This scene was a bold move, presented without irony.

For those who loved the original, you’ll be happy to know the usual series of familiar gags (ranging from dumb to hilariously-dumb) are recycled for another go-around, this time with Cruz and Sting thrown into the mix. And like the first film, the number of gratuitous celebrity cameos is massive (Bieber’s just the tip of the iceberg). However, because Zoolander 2's plot is flimsier and the premise is well-past its expiration date, the viewer is often distracted into playing a celebrity version of Where’s Waldo?.

This one flopped at the box office, perhaps because, like the original Zoolander, at home is where stuff like this plays best. Its singular joke is far more amusing to experience over and over when you aren't paying through-the-nose, making Zoolander 2 worth a rental for fans of the first film. Others beware.

  • Featurettes: “The Zoolander Legacy” (Cast & crew discuss getting this sequel off the ground); “Go Big or Go Rome”; “Drake Sather: The Man Who Created Zoolander” (short feature of the co-creator, who died in 2004)
  • Youth Milk Beauty Ad
  • DVD & Digital Copies
  • Digital Copy of the original Zoolander

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