FILM REVIEW: Zoolander 2 (2016)

As a teenager, Zoolander was one of my favourite films and easily one of the most quotable of the time (after Mean Girls of course). However, just as it’s not easy being really, really, ridiculously good looking, it was never going to be easy to make a sequel that would do the original film justice.

Did Zoolander 2 succeed on that count? Well, it probably depends on your sense of humour.

Opening with a scene that will bring a smile to any music lover over the age of 14, it seemed this film would be a hit from the very beginning. It’s too good to spoil, so just trust me on this one. Even if you’re an avid avoider of sequels, the first scene cannot be missed.

Fifteen years on we find our former male models Derek Zoolander and Hansel (he’s so hot right now) at opposite ends of the earth. Derek in a snow-covered cabin in the woods, Hansel in a desert retreat. Sworn off modelling and no longer in contact, of course another evil plot is going to see them battling side-by-side once more. But they’re in a different world now, a world of hashtags and selfies, where they’re irrelevant, old and lame. Unfortunately, the plot seemed pretty thin as the film was more focused on being a series of gags than an actual story.

One of the running gags which fell flat was fashion icon Alexanya Atoz and her mispronunciation of just about every word. When I think of mispronunciation as a successful gag, Fawlty Towers comes to mind, but this character could not rival Basil Fawlty. It was overdone to the point that Alexanya was not so much humorous as difficult to comprehend.

The best character by a landslide was androgynous high fashion model ‘All’, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch delivered a memorable and captivating performance but sadly had far too little screen time. ‘All’ was introduced and then soon forgotten about when really they should have been taken along for the adventure. ‘All’ could have been the star of the show and I have to wonder if that is the reason why they were pushed aside.

Derek finds his son, Hansel finds out who his father is, and somehow these scenes lack emotional depth. Throw in some unexpected celebrity appearances, a reference to Rocky Horror Picture Show and excessive reliance on the ‘Who am I?’ line from the original Zoolander, a disappointing lack of a ‘walk-off’ and we’ve more or less covered the film. That said, it did get a few laughs out of me and I did enjoy some of the nostalgic references to the original film, but those few laughs could not compensate for the weak plot.

Overall, it just felt too desperate for laughs and had I paid to see it I think I would have been disappointed (thanks for the free tickets, Citroen!). From the death of a likeable character from the previous film to the over-the-top and unrealistic ending, it was too much. Other than the first scene, I would not advise watching this if you loved the original. Get to writing your eugoogly, this film needs to be buried.

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