Derek Zoolander is back with his signature looks ‘Magnum’ & ‘Blue Steel’ in Zoolander 2 with former foe Hansel in tow. After years of estrangement and living in the wilderness, Derek and Hansel are brought back together in an effort to find out who is killing the worlds most beautiful people. The best clue they have is that every victim dies with a signature look on their face, and the only person who can decipher it is Derek Zoolander.
After his “Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Who Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too” falls apart after two days, Derek and Hansel scarred emotionally and physically by the event, part ways and leave the fashion industry. However after living as a hermit in the wilderness of New Jersey for a number of years Derek is enticed back into the fold with promises that he will be reunited with his son, if he helps Interpol with their mission. Valentina (Penelope Cruz), a former swimsuit model and Interpol employee, joins in the race to find the mysterious killer whilst Derek and Hansel must immerse themselves in the modern fashion industry, 15 years after they were at the top of their game, and boy have things have changed.
The first Zoolander is a good satirical comedy that used the fashion industry as it’s muse and had plenty of fun taking it for a ride. The film has countless cameos, smart humour, and Billy Zane, and despite being ridiculous at times it doesn’t get too wild because of it’s focus on the fashion industry. Unfortunately the only things that have managed to filter over into Zoolander 2 are an insane amount of cameos, and Billy Zane.
One of the things that made Zoolander stand out is it operated in an industry rarely targeted by comedy, with plenty material to use and issues to tackle it proved a ripe source of inspiration. However for some reason Zoolander 2 merely uses the fashion industry as a backdrop in what is actually secret agent/spy story. Not only is this disappointing, I honestly felt like I was watching a sequel to Austin Powers. The story itself contains unnecessary twists and turns that make it convoluted. We start with an investigation into a series of celebrity deaths, which then becomes a mission to save Derek Zoolander Jnr, which then becomes a mission to save the world, with a digressive side story about Hansel’s absent father. Gone is the smart humour that played off controversial topics about fashion, and in it’s place stupid humour from a couple of models who bumble their way to the end. It all just boils down to a silly revenge story which we’ve seen before, and we don’t need to see how Derek Zoolander would do it.
I’m possibly being too harsh, there are moments throughout the film that made me chuckle but they were few and far between, and the humour of the best cameo in the film was yet again spoilt by a trailer. If you’ve seen the trailers you’ll know Benedict Cumberbatch features as a model named ‘One’, whose sexuality appears ambiguous. Unfortunately what you see in the trailer is the extent of his appearance, which is a complete and utter waste. Thankfully there are a slew of recognisable names and faces which will still raise a smile, the best in my opinion comes from a certain action star who is part of Hansel’s side story, but I’ll not spoilt it for you. The rest of the comedy in the film tends to just be weird, for example, remember the David Hasselhoff cameo in The Spongebob SquarePants Movie where he offers Spongebob a ride on his back? Penelope Cruz does the exact same thing for Derek…It is just so out of place, much like her role in the film. Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig do their best to retain the humour but they feature far too little to have much of an impact.
Zoolander 2 is not a patch on it’s predecessor, and is just not that funny. Derek Zoolander is not necessarily out of fashion, but a poorly constructed story and lack of decent humour bog the film down. Just like the ‘Derelicte’ fashion line from Mugatu, the second film is made up of an ill fitting story and recycled pieces with half the value. A thoroughly tepid sequel and comedy.