Yet Another Too Late Sequel Strikes! A Zoolander 2 Review

Film Score ⭐

Released by Paramount Pictures

Release Date: February 12th, 2016

Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell

Written by Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Nicholas Stoller, and John Hamburg

Directed by Ben Stiller

Rated PG-13 (rude and sexual content, a scene of exaggerated violence, and brief strong lanaguage)

Very rarely do I see a film that tries so hard to be funny and hip yet fails at every turn. Zoolander 2 is such a film.

As I watched the film, I had an utter disdain for everything that was happening on screen. The film is well made. The technical aspects are impressive and the make-up is done right. The problem with the film is that there is nothing going on. This is a witless film. A film that throws every joke that it can think of just to see what makes us laugh.

There is a scene early on that illustrates my point. Stiller has taken his son, who is in an orphanage, out for gelato. As they are driving around Rome, Stiller is taking selfies while his son, who is a normal person, looks on in the same disdain that most will have for this film. When Stiller looks up from taking the selfie, he notices that they are about to hit a bus. He swerves and avoids the bus, but the car starts to flip out of control anyway. The car then flips and flips and flips and flips and flips, finally coming to a stop upright. Stiller then says “That is not how I planned that.” End of scene.

I can not even start on how dumb this scene is. Sure, the kid looking at his father while he acts like a moron is amusing at best, but the scene takes so many turns and throws so much at us in such a short period of time that we don’t have time to laugh because we don’t have the time to figure out what, if anything, was funny. The car flipping out of control? Nope. The punchline? Nope. There is literally nothing in this scene that would make anyone, but the most monosyllabic person, laugh.

This is a shame because Ben Stiller has some talent. He wrote and directed the first Zooloander which, while just as dumb and juvenile as this one, had a certain charm. He also directed Tropic Thunder, one of the best comedies of the last ten years and a film that should be more appreciated than it is. As an actor, Stiller is less talented. He always plays the same helpless drag or someone who is mad. Zoolander was a change for Stiller and he was able to pull it off in the first film, but not here. 

There is the issue of the countless celebrity cameos too. Usually, a film will have a lot of cameos because the film is not working out the way that the filmmakers had intended. The cameos are more of a distraction. Here, we get some famous faces that normal people would know, ie: Justin Bieber, Sting, etc, and we get faces that only people who pay attention to fashion would know, ie: Tommy Hilfiger, Vera Wang, etc. These cameos add nothing to the film and are the distraction I described earlier. The only cameo worth mentioning is Billy Zane, because Billy Zane adds to a film yet never takes away.

I wanted to like this film. I really did. The fact that the film tries so hard to be funny is a testament to how unfunny the film is. The film relies too much on fandom. The film throws a lot of references to the first film out there for fans. While there is nothing wrong with this, when the film is as bad as this one is, it feels more like pandering. Zoolander 2 could have been a good film. Maybe. Still, Zoolander 2 is one of the worst films of 2016.  

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