Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Actor-Director Ben Stiller Struggles to Generate Laughs with 'Zoolander 2'

Posted By on Fri, Feb 12, 2016 at 12:48 PM

click to enlarge uigyuigf_wide-ae491fd7b004376ece69f22cac8646d8a23613e1-s900-c85.jpg
Fifteen years ago, Ben Stiller thoroughly satirized the fashion industry with Zoolander, a comedy that centers on Derek Zoolander, a top male fashion model that could stop a shuriken with his piercing “magnum” gaze. Reprising that role in Zoolander 2, Stiller struggles to recapture the magic of the original in the sequel, which opens area wide today. Directed by Stiller and written by John Hamburg, Justin Theroux, Stiller and Nick Stoller, the film fails to deliver more than a handful of laughs.

It begins promisingly enough, however, with the assassination of pop star Justin Bieber. A mysterious man on a motorcycle ruthlessly guns him down, though Justin still manages to post one last picture of himself on Instagram before he crokes. His gratuitous death will likely generation some applause (it certainly did at the screening we attended).



Stiller and Co. then go to great lengths to explain all that’s transpired since the conclusion of the first film. Both Derek and rival model Hansel McDonald (Owen Wilson) have left the fashion world. Devastated by the death of his wife, Derek has become a “hermit crab” and lives in a remote part of New Jersey. Hansel has retreated to the desert where he lives in a commune of sorts. The two come together when several of the "world's most beautiful people" are systematically assassinated with Derek’s "Blue Steel" look on their face. Interpol’s Melanie Valentina (Penelope Cruz) recruits Derek and Hansel to help her stop the killings.

But, as we know, Derek isn't the sharpest male model on the runway. He doesn't even know when he's being set up by fashion czar Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig), who recruits him and Hansel to travel to Rome for a huge fashion show that they hope will resuscitate their respective careers. While in Rome, Derek reunites with his long lost son and inadvertently helps his rival Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell) escape from prison when he tries to use reverse psychology on the guy. Jacobim then comes after Derek, creating a climactic showdown at the film's end. It's all rather ludicrous. And yet, the set designs and dialogue all feels half-baked.

The cameos come fast and furious as actors such as Kiefer Sutherland, Benedict Cumberbatch and Billy Zane all have bit roles. Look carefully and you’ll spot Skrillex on the wheels of steel in one scene. That’s not to mention appearances by Sting, Fred Armisen and Milla Jovovich. But since most of the jokes fall flat, it’s all for naught. 

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

July 1, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation