Sequels are tricky, especially when there is a sizable lapse between them and such is the case with Zoolander 2. Zoolander was a film that seemed to creep up on you, a definite word of mouth film that ended up being very popular and endlessly quoted. So, with Zoolander 2, we have a sequel that has two things going against it: time and expectation. Zoolander fans love the characters, but, with so many years inbetween, you don’t just want a retread of the first film, you want something that is new and funny. Zoolander 2 occasionally provides the former and mostly delivers on the latter.
The story starts around ten years on after a horrific accident at The Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too. The centre collapses, killing Matilda and scarring Hansel. Zoolander, grieving over Matlida, then loses custody of their son and he goes to live out his life alone. As fate would have it, Derek is drawn back into the world of fashion by a much bigger conspiracy and scandal.
Wilson and Stiller slip back into their roles easily. It’s nothing ground breaking, but it certainly puts you back into that world. Penelope Cruz plays a good foil for the stupidity of Derek and Hansel as Valentina, part of the Interpol Fashion Police, and Will Ferrell is in fine form as an even more insane Mugatu. However, it is Kristen Wiig that steals the film as Alexanya Atoz, a bloated face and full lipped fashion designer. Every scene she is in she absolutely shines and is without a doubt the best character in the film.
The film is at its best when trying something new. Yes, a sequel does have to hit its touchstones from the original but, on occasion, these moments seemed to be wedged in to the film and seemed really, really forced and somewhat awkward. However, when it hits its mark, Zoolander 2 is a very funny film. Derek seems to have gotten dumber and that plays out well in some scenes and a touch predictable in others. The film really scores when it destroys pop culture (a’la Justin Bieber’s death scene & the most annoying hipster fashion jerk designer ever) and when it goes really goofy. I won’t spoil it, but just keep an eye out for Keifer Sutherland’s extended cameo.
Zoolander 2 could be, and most likely will be, an easy target for critics and those that relish in the negative (i.e most of the internet), however, there is more than enough good material that outweighs the bad. Zoolander 2 can’t come close to matching its predecessor, but it is still a solid sequel, that will give you a laugh.