Derek (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) come out of their self-imposed exiles and head to Rome, where they are invited to be part of an elite fashion show.
Review by Louise Keller:
While the original Zoolander (2001) delighted audiences as a piquant parody about the fashion industry with its unique, off-the-wall one-joke concept, this misconceived slash muddle of a sequel manages to destroy every bit of affection we may have had for model slash fashion icons Zoolander and Hansel. In short, the joke is dead, the script is a mess and the film is a tedious embarrassment - despite the divine Penelope Cruz' seductive fashion division Interpol agent and a revolving door of star cameos. Even Will Ferrell's energetic turn as the evil, scheming, larger-than-life Mugatu, locked away in an institution for the fashion insane, falls flat. The 100 minute running time drags.
Ben Stiller, who directs, stars and has a hand in writing the script must shoulder the blame and it is a shame he did not think to allow his Zoolander character with the trademark pout to develop and offer juice rather than prolong a stale joke. The long-winded preamble is so complicated that by the time the story begins, I was tired. Mostly set in Rome, the plot involves a conspiracy, the fountain of youth, Zoolander's estranged son and Hansel's obsession for orgies and group sex. (Owen Wilson is as lovable as always; his Phantom-of the Opera-esque gold lizard eye mask an interesting feature.) Father son relationships also figure highly and it is Zoolander's determination to be seen as a productive member of society that prompts his return from self-imposed exile in the wilds of New Jersey. The trouble is, that none of this is funny enough and for a while, the only things that keep the film's heart beating are the familiar faces: Billy Zane, Kiefer Sutherland, Susan Boyle, Willie Nelson, Susan Sarandon, Sting, John Malkovich, Anna Wintour, Tommy Hilfiger, Valentino, Katie Perry, Justin Bieber, to name a few.
Watch out for Benedict Cumberbatch with no eyebrows, giant wings and a whip as the world's greatest model and John Malkovich is a surprise, albeit a blink-and-you'll-miss-it one, as one of the orange overall-clad fashion insane prisoners. Kristen Wiig is unrecognizable as the fashion empress Alexanya Atoz, whose vowel mispronunciations make anything she says sound like gobbledygook. Fortunately Cruz's buxom Valentina brightens up many scenes, none more so than the one in which her talents from her earlier career as swimsuit model pays dividends. Composer Theodore Shapiro's fabulous soundtrack keeps us awake at least, but the film starts and ends as a bomb, even if there is some glitter.
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ZOOLANDER 2 (M)
CAST: Ben Stiller, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kristen Wiig, Penelope Cruz, Will Ferrell, Owen Wilson, Macaulay Culkin, Billy Zane, Christine Taylor, Olivia Munn with Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato
PRODUCER: Stuart Cornfeld, Scott Rudin, Ben Stiller, Clayton Townsend
DIRECTOR: Ben Stiller
SCRIPT: Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Nicholas Stoller, John Hamburg
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Daniel Mindel
EDITOR: Greg Hayden
MUSIC: Theodore Shapiro
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jeff Mann
RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 11, 2016