Director: Ben Stiller
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell
Going into a comedy sequel, there’s always a certain passive diffidence knowing that chances are it might be terrible. Following in the footsteps of its recent part-two-predecessors ‘Anchorman 2’, ‘Dumb & Dumber 2’, and ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’, ‘Zoolander 2’ was sadly no exception. To say ‘Zoolander 2’ was a shameless money grab produced a decade late would be an understatement. It’s not just horrible; it’s abhorrent. On the heels of a fine directorial career, including five straight pictures I liked (Reality Bites included), Ben Stiller seemed to take any inkling of theatrical dignity he had left and throw it down the toilet, having to flush twice because it turned out to be such a load of shit. This sequel is the quintessential, modern day, comedic continuation that crashes and burns at every corner, from writing to production to acting and on down the line. It’s not worth your $14 at the cinema; at best it’s a super-stoned, pizza boxes on the coffee table, beer cans everywhere, last-resort illegal stream.
That’s not to say that ‘Zoolander 2’ was without its moments. The nostalgia of seeing our two favorite fictional male models will bring an inevitable delight to our collective greasy faces. However, the candor and indelicacy of the way Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson flaunt belligerent ineptitude or anti-appreciation of comedy for 90 minutes really blows your mind. Kyle Mooney, Saturday Night Live’s current best troubadour and curator of the viciously viral “pass that here dude” Youtube video, is the lone standout performance. Mooney’s straight up bullshit (in a good way) bro humor absolutely demands your attention and is about the only moments of cackling you’ll do throughout. Not even delicious cameos from Katy Perry, Benedict Cumberbatch, Skrillex, John Malkovich, Justin Bieber et al can save the shipwreck that is ‘Zoolander 2’.
The funniest part about the whole debacle may be this Stiller quote from 2008: “I’ve been trying to get Zoolander 2 together and we’ve had a few scripts. I feel that is the sequel I really would like to do some day, because I like the original and I would make sure it was something new and worthy of it first”. While it may have come across as new and fresh, ‘Zoolander 2’ is anything but worthy of the original. It is encompassed by a continuing rotation of 15 minutes of submissive building to a lugubrious one-liner that absolutely bombs. It’s so not funny that it doesn’t even hit on sub-funny/anti-comedy levels. This is quite simply, well and truly embarrassing. The worst bit may lie in the fact that they try so hard to sell punchlines that would have killed back in 2008, but are now so antiquated that it shows how out of touch legends like Stiller and Wilson are with the current humor genre. Plus, the plot is simply abysmal. Don’t even get started on the plot.
If, in 2005, someone had told you there would be a sequel to ‘Zoolander’, you indubitably would have handed them $5 right then and there saying, “Sign me up man, that’s going to be great”. Flash forward a decade, there’s no way ‘Zoolander 2’ is worth $5, let alone the 5 cents paid for the errant dried gum on the bottom of my shoe. That’s not to say you may dislike ‘Zoolander 2’, but it is to say that if you like it, then you probably have terrible taste in movies. End rant.