Directed by Ben Stiller
Based on characters created by Ben Stiller, Drake Sather
Screenplay by Ben Stiller, Justin Theroux, Nicholas Stoller, John Hamburg
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penélope Cruz, Jerry Stiller, Justin Theroux
After a series of personal tragedies, Derek (Stiller) and Hansel (Wilson) went into hiding. Only a unique offer from a mysterious designer of high fashion could get them back on the catwalk. Once again, they’re in way over their heads.
This movie is the much-anticipated sequel to the 2001 comedy classic, Zoolander. This is based on the same characters, originally created by Ben Stiller and Drake Sather. The screenplay was written by a team that included Stiller (The Royal Tenenbaums), Justin Theroux, Nicholas Stoller (The Muppets), and John Hamburg (I Love You, Man). The cast includes Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson (Midnight in Paris), Will Ferrell (Everything Must Go), Penélope Cruz (Vanilla Sky), Jerry Stiller (The Heartbreak Kid), and Justin Theroux (Inland Empire). As if he didn’t have enough to do, Ben Stiller also directed this one.
The story created for this movie is a major misfire. The success of the first film came through the ridiculous nature of the models and fashionistas portrayed. Sure, there was a “major international conspiracy”, but it wasn’t what people fell in love with. This movie decided to push the spy and conspiracy aspects of the film to the max. In doing so, the qualities of the characters feels secondary. This does have a very strong opening, making it about 20 minutes before cracks really begin to appear.
After that this one seems to lose steam quickly, and finishes with a fizzle instead of a bang. There are lots of funny moments throughout this one, but it doesn’t hold together well at all. If you were hoping for the magic of the first film, the story will leave you disappointed.
The acting does as much as possible with the material in this one. All of the returning characters have the same charms, flaws, and weirdness. The small moments that do work in this one come through the comedic skill of the stars. Stiller, Ferrell, and Wilson all find moments to shine. There are also some fun moments thanks to many of the celebrities that make appearances throughout. Unfortunately, the cast was given a story without any real punch, and it shows. Some of the more crass and obscene moments just feel forced. This is as much a writing issue as it is an acting one. The acting brings out as much as possible in this one, but don’t expect too much.
Overall, this is a disappointing followup to one of my favorite movies from the early 1990s. While there are a handful of great comedy, the overall product doesn’t feel right. If you’re a huge fan of the original, I advise you to proceed with low expectations. Fans of some of the stars in the movie might also enjoy parts of this one. If you’ve got other options, this might not be worth rushing out to see. I give this one 1.6 out of 5 stars.