The long awaited sequel to Zoolander is finally hitting theaters. But is Zoolander 2 worth the wait we’ve endured over the years? Ben Stiller stars, directs and is the pen behind the script along with Justin Theroux (co-writer on Tropic Thunder) who provide honestly more fan service than a new story surrounding Derek and Hansel (Owen Wilson).
While not necessarily a bad thing, the movie plays it really safe. You reunite with the daft models who have not been in the public eye since a freak accident that killed Zoolander’s wife and disfigured Hansel. The callbacks starts from the start, Billy Zane collects them to come out of hiding to be a part of a show for new fashion icons Don Atari, a hipster style mogul and Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig). But once in the public eye they’re ridiculed as has-beens to promote the new face of fashion All, as played by Benedict Cumberbatch who in this cameo steals the show and it’s a shame this new character wasn’t really explored. His scene was a glimmer chances almost taken that would have paid off. Same with Wiig, who is mostly scene in ads that play about seeking the fountain of youth.
Penelope Cruz is also a new character who we don’t get enough of as fashion police Valentina who is investigating murders that seem related to Zoolander. Justin Beiber’s death in the beginning may be gratifying to some but the reasoning behind why popstars end up dead still build to a similar plot as the first film. Thar’s where it loses steam, all of the new cast serves to get the plot to move back to the same big bad as the first film: MUGATU.
The film relies on just hitting the same plot points as the first with Mugatu masterminding the deaths of select figures while using Zoolander and, this time, also his son to get them there. The only thing that saves this movie is how these actors effortlessly return to the characters we love. Will Ferrel as Mugatu continues to be fantastic, same with Stiller and Wilson’s chemistry as our fave model duo.
Maybe Stiller and Theroux in a very Tropic Thunder meta way realized that fans wanted the same movie. It includes every joke and moments we loved from the first in an almost too purposeful way. There’s a Orange Mocha Frappucino redux, there’s tons more cameos, there’s Mugatu’s latte. The whole cast brings it and the film brings us the same good guy and bad guy. There were threads of the new stories that are left loose just to get it where the first left us. Maybe there shouldn’t have been a sequel and this is a way for the creators to avoid a franchise. While I enjoyed Zoolander 2 for trying to be everything its fans wanted in a not so subtle ironic way and it was great to see everyone again, it’s made me rethink whether or not I want a Tropic Thunder 2.