Fifteen years ago, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson delivered Zoolander, a film that ridiculously satires our thoughts on beauty, modeling, and humanitarian inclinations. It was dumb – but it seemed to be dumb on purpose. In fact, it was critically and commercially a success! But fifteen years later, Zoolander No. 2 comes across much like the signs that Derek and Hansel are forced to wear early in the film, “old” and “lame.”
After everything about Derek Zoolander’s life comes crashing down, he and Hansel escape into isolation. But when they are lured out of hiding for a big payday (and to avoid Hansel’s ten partners’ pregnancies), they discover that Zoolander’s son isn’t ‘pretty,’ that Mugatu (Will Ferrell) is still out for power, and that the world thinks they’re over the hill. Thanks to Penelope Cruz’s Interpol agent, they have some chance of fighting against the forces of evil fashion.
Expecting the film to be funny, I was reasonably disappointed. Sure, it boasts a list of celebrities unseen outside of, well, anything: Sting, Katy Perry, Jerry Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Kiefer Sutherland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, John Malkovich, Alexander Skarsgard, MC Hammer. MC Hammer! But it feels like an extended SNL skit aimed at incorporating all of these people, rather than a plot that is intentionally funny – or coherent.
Hopefully, there won’t be a third film, because Zoolander’s character has been stretched as creatively (and mentally) as he can. He still thinks his kid is a mistake but he recognizes beauty isn’t just being skinny (even if he does have to categorize him as “plus size”). And we’ve got the strangest rewrite of the Genesis story ever – even if it literally doesn’t make any sense from a storytelling (or religious) perspective.
Instead, maybe you should go back to “helping people who need help.” It’s a good start.