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Zoolander 2' a fashion victim

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Too-late sequel neither funny nor necessary

Sequels are inherently subject to the law of diminishing returns. Revisiting the same people doing the same things is almost always going to result in a lesser experience. The degree of diminishment, however, is variable. Sometimes, you get a sequel that stands fairly strong; it's particularly nice when a sequel allows itself to change in a significant way.

Other times, you get 'Zoolander 2.' This wildly unnecessary 15-years-later sequel to 2001's 'Zoolander' has no real reason to exist. The original managed to take advantage of a cast operating at or near the peak of its collective comedic powers to elevate a barely-viable concept into a fun, eminently quotable cult classic. The sequel doesn't.

Someone is killing off the world's pop stars, much to the chagrin of Interpol agent Valentina Valencia (Penelope Cruz, 'The Counselor'). She believes that the only hope of tracking down the killer is to find Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller, 'Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb'); he has been in hiding following numerous tragedies that led to the death of his wife and the removal of his son from his custody.

Zoolander along with old friend/rival Hansel (Owen Wilson, 'No Escape') is coaxed back into the spotlight at the behest of current fashion titan Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig, 'The Martian'); the magnate wants the two former stars to work with hot new designer Don Atari (Kyle Mooney, 'It Had To Be You') and androgynous supermodel All (Benedict Cumberbatch, 'Black Mass').

Derek and Hansel wind up recruited by Valentina to help track down the pop star killers. Derek demands that she help him track down his son, but in the course of trying to reconnect, he instead does even more damage to their relationship. Then it turns out that there's some sort of connection to the Fountain of Youth that involves a mysterious old enemy of Zoolander's (actually, it's not that mysterious if you've seen literally any of the trailers it's Mugatu (Will Ferrell, 'Daddy's Home')).

Any of this sound familiar? Zoolander being super dumb and being washed up and then not washed up? Hansel also being super dumb as well as a New Age sex maniac? A ridiculous centuries-old fashion-based conspiracy? Wave upon wave of cameos from famous people?

Yeah, it's pretty much the same movie. You'd think that with 15(!) years, Stiller who directed and the four-man scriptwriting team (Stiller, Justin Theroux, Nicholas Stoller and John Hamburg) would come up with something that at least resembled a new idea, but alas, everyone involved seemed perfectly content to just throw a bunch of famous folks at a half-baked rehash.

Even that would have been OK if it had been, you know, funny. But it isn't. At all.

Oh sure, the occasional gag lands. Maybe a cameo or a punchline elicits a chuckle. However, the vast majority of your time will be spent wondering what kind of lunatic ever thought that making this movie was a good idea. You're left thinking about how well (or not so well) people have aged in the past 15 years. It's a snapshot of decline for a lot of these people at times, it borders on the depressing.

Stiller and Wilson still have an easy chemistry between them, but the utter lack of evolution makes the characters a bit of a bore. Cruz isn't bad, but she's in a thankless position. Wiig trues to inject some energy, but her part is just terrible. Mooney has some of the film's better bits, but even his shtick wears thin quickly. Ferrell is as over-the-top as ever, but there has been a lot of water under that bridge in the past decade-and-a-half it's all old news.

There's little to recommend 'Zoolander 2.' And by 'little,' I mean 'nothing' it's a dull, uninspired movie, a shamelessly recycled and borderline cynical cash grab by filmmakers hoping to cash in on these characters before they completely fade from the pop culture consciousness.

In short, Derek Zoolander and company have definitely fallen out of fashion.

[1 out of 5]

Last modified on Wednesday, 30 March 2016 21:43

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