Zoolander 2 – Review (***)

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Amusing if decidedly uneven, this long-gestating follow-up to the 2001 cult classic comedy hurls enough lunacy and cameo-filled goodness at fans of the original to satisfy, even if it’s unsurprisingly a fairly unambitious, hit-and-miss affair (much like the original).

After Justin Bieber and a host of other “beautiful” celebrities die with Derek Zoolander’s (Ben Stiller) iconic Blue Steel expression on their faces, the former fashion model is recruited by sexy Interpol agent Melanie Valentina (Penelope Cruz) to get to the bottom of those behind it. Teaming with Valentina and former frenemy Hansel (Owen Wilson), the trio stare down intimidating fashion mogul Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig) and Derek’s old rival Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell).

Big-budget comedies don’t come much more scattershot than Zoolander 2, which has the dual effect of generating an inconsistent gag-rate but also ensuring the pic never sticks in one place too long. Even during the lurches where laughter is more scarce, the sheer likeably idiotic personalities of these characters sees it through, even if you might be left hoping for something a little more on the hysterical side overall.

Still, Stiller, who directed and co-wrote the film, has dozens of secret weapons up his sleeves, namely a ludicrous conveyor belt of cameos ranging from the pointlessly bizarre to genuinely superb. A few, in fact, might even be close to on par with David Bowie’s unforgettable appearance in the original movie, but because they’re worth going into blind, they won’t be mentioned in any detail here. 

Where the movie feels a little more undercooked is with a rather soap opera-esque drama that arrives in Derek’s life, and the two core villains; Wiig’s role is surprisingly light considering how much effort has gone into transforming her, and Ferrell doesn’t show up until the final half-hour of the movie, though does well with what he has. 

That said, the film has always been about its bone-headed twosome, who fit ably back into the roles they made iconic 15 years ago, while Cruz is a sexy, appealing femme fatale, even if her character comes up fairly short in the personality front.

It won’t do much for those not acquainted with the original, but Zoolander 2 delivers some agreeably inane laughs and, above all else, proves just how much almost the entire entertainment industry wanted to appear in this film. 

***

Zoolander 2 is in cinemas February 12th

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