By: Gary Murray
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Penelope Cruz
Written by: Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Nicholas Stoller and John Harnberg
Directed by: Ben Stiller
Running time: 105 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Selig Film Rating: Cable
Zoolander was a film that didn’t generate a great amount of box office when first released but found a great second life in DVD rentals and multiple cable television showings. In that way it was much like the first Austin Powers flick.
Eventually, everyone had seen the film and it built a sizeable audience. As more and more people fell in love with the character, it seemed like a good idea to make a sequel over a decade later. That sequel is titled Zoolander 2.
The film starts where the last one left off. Through a cleaver series of different media coverage, the audience gets caught-up in all things about male model Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and his rival/friend Hansel (Owen Wilson). Both have fallen off the face of the earth.
But, someone is killing off all the beautiful people looking for ‘The Chosen One’. An international agency is trying to track down this chosen one and they are lead by Valentina (Penelope Cruz). But, real life Billy Zane tracks down Zoolander in the frozen wastelands and Hansel in the desert. One lives a solitary life and the other is just the opposite.
Then the film kicks into James Bond/Jason Bourne territory with a series of quick cuts to different exotic locations. Throughout the film the audience is deluged with a gaggle of celebrity cameos. There are such people as Willie Nelson, Justin Bieber and Kiefer Sutherland in the mix. It goes from funny to overkill.
And that is the problem with the film. It is an overkill of comedy to the point that it becomes unfunny. Director Ben Stiller thought he was making an Austin Powers 2 and really made something more along the lines of Ishtar.
In there lies the difficulty. More money does not make a film more funny. There have been many high budget flicks that were supposed to be comedy genius but fell flat when coming off the screen. An example is 1941. It had a strong director with Steven Spielberg and an all-star cast with John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd but failed with ticket sales. It was just too much.
But on the plus side, with all the money this is probably the best looking film of 2016. The costumes and effects are all first-rate. The technicians that crafted this work are some of the best and their work shows in every frame of the film. It has beautiful locations and stunning visuals. The problem is that it is all for naught.
The film is written by four people and they could have made a great motion picture but with Zoolander 2. When Ben and Owen took the characters on Saturday Night Live with the Weekend Update desk, they generated more laughs in less time that did the movie. What works in a short skit may not translate into feature gold. The writers needed a solid plot before attaching all the comedy bits.
Zoolander was never a favorite film and Zoolander 2 is not much better. If you just loved the first version of this type of comedy, then you will love this adventure. If you found it all too much about nothing, this will not shed much more light on the subject. It is definitely for the fans only and a bit of a disappointment with the regular movie patrons.