#REVIEW: “ZOOLANDER 2”
15 years after its initial release, ZOOLANDER gets that long-awaited Sequel. While we reckon the Fashion Satire was a bit of a Sleeper Hit in its day, somehow we find ourselves with elevated expectations for ZOOLANDER 2 and we’re not alone. The worlds of celebrity and fashion have embraced it lovingly, building a legacy of its own.
We catch-up with Derek (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) once again, both coping with their own identity crises long after the peak of their fame, once known as the world’s hottest dueling supermodels. Derek after losing his wife Matilda (Christine Taylor), has a meltdown which results in him losing custody of his son, Derek Jr. His sights set on winning back his son, Derek finds himself joining forces with Hansel as he fights to prove his worth as a contributing member of society following a period of isolation. This for him means thrusting himself back into the spotlight in the unforgiving world of Fashion where he now is seen as a Has-Been. Along the way, we learn that his son Derek Jr. (Cyrus Arnold) also is in danger, with a strange tie to a string of unexplained celebrity deaths.
While we expected the theme of redemption largely to be explored in ZOOLANDER 2 after a lengthy absence, Stiller wearing both writing and directing hats, takes this installment perhaps a bit too far to the dark. While still a Comedy, tonally this Sequel lacks the same effortless kitsch and meme-worthy taglines its Predecessor had. Perhaps it plants itself a step too deep into the Fashion world that something might feel a little unfamiliar to its core audience. I mean, what did Alexander Wang do to deserved to be picked-on and would a Fan of the original get it?
At times feeling a bit like a Thriller, though lacking the intensity, we find most of our laughs coming at the expense of Derek‘s absent-mindedness, Hansel‘s promiscuity and Mugatu’s (Will Ferrell) zany antics. The latter part of the Film is absorbed with explaining its complicated premise when its focus should have been the laughter. We much would have preferred a Sequel drawing our attentions to both Derek and Hansel’s rise back to the top and their storied friendship.
Underutilized, Kristen Wiig as the Donatella Versace-like Alexanya Atoz, certainly has the scene-stealing delivery down pat but isn’t given much to work with. And although we had our doubts about her in a Comedy, Penélope Cruz is a delight as the investigative Valentina. And let us not forget those cameos filled to the brim, ranging from Justin Bieber to Anna Wintour to keep us amused.
Walk into ZOOLANDER 2 looking for some laughter and fun, but know that nothing compares to the original.
Paramount Pictures Canada release ZOOLANDER 2 Friday, February 12, 2016.