ZOOLANDER is the latest seminal cult classic to fall victim to the cha-ching machine and no matter how good it might be, there's a part of me that wishes it was never made. I blame Will Ferrell. Think about it. AUSTIN POWERS, ANCHORMAN and ZOOLANDER!! He's the poisoned chalice. Up until this point Ben Stiller, as a director, has had a precise knack for creating original and assertive films that stand strong without the imposed pressure for more. REALITY BITES, THE CABLE GUY, TROPIC THUNDER... and until now ZOOLANDER (the original just lost some of it's mojo).
But hey, pessimism doesn't suit me and the good news is that ZOOLANDER 2 is a whole lot of fun. It builds upon the absurdity of the first movie and magnifies everything by ten. It is fully self-aware and makes no apologies. Ben Stiller was lured back to the character because of demand from the fan-base and at one point he had stepped aside, handing the directorial reigns to Justin Theroux, but he clearly understood that the only way to keep the original film in tact was to present the sequel as a parody of itself. All of the subtleties of the first movie have been replaced with big, fat obvious jokes that benefit from saturation. The viewer is pounded over the head with jokes and forced into submission.
Picking up fifteen years later, the movie opens with a well-played recap of events and updates us with filler from the missing years. Stiller does intros really damn well and his flair for satire instils the viewer with confidence right from the get-go. His Derek Zoolander character is back on the scene, along with his old pal Hansel (Owen Wilson) and they're faced with being has-beens in a world that left them behind. Then they find themselves central-figures in a maniacal plot to - oh I don't know – end the world or something? The plot is dumb and irrelevant (trust me).
ZOOLANDER 2 moves at a relentless pace and doesn't slow down for a second. Old jokes are recycled, old jokes are reinvented and old jokes are generous enough to let new jokes in too. It is a mixed bag of lunacy. A chaotic crock-pot of comedy that can't help but be endearing. And wherever the script may have felt insipid on paper, they have launched an assault of celebrity cameos to beef it up. We're talking some unexpected and hilarious appearances from the unlikeliest of people (you'll have to see for yourself).
So is ZOOLANDER 2 any good? Yeah, I think so. It's a heap of fun and it doesn't disappoint, but don't expect to be quoting it in ten years time. It doesn't have the impact of the first movie and it's more than likely going to fall by the wayside in due time.
ZOOLANDER is definitely better without ZOOLANDER 2 but what can ya do?