Fans of the 2001 cult classic Zoolander have had to wait 15 years for the sequel, Zoolander No. 2. Director Ben Stiller reprises his role as Derek Zoolander (and somehow looks as if he hasn’t aged a day), with many other original stars returning as well including Owen Wilson as Hansel, Justin Theroux as Evil DJ (who also co-wrote), Will Farrell as Mugatu, and Nathan Lee Graham as his sidekick Todd. Rounding out the cast are newcomers to the instalment Penelope Cruz and Kristen Wiig. Like the original, Zoolander No. 2 is chock full of celebrity cameos, too many to name, and it’s fun to try and spot them all (though you probably won’t from just seeing the film once).
Supported by a beefier storyline than the original, Zoo2 starts out with Derek in self-exile after the building that houses his pet project, The Derek Zoolander School For Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Want to do Other Stuff Too, collapses killing his wife Matilda and leaving Hansel with “grotesque” facial injuries. After being convinced to restart his career in fashion, he is roped into helping beautiful Interpol agent Valentina (Cruz) track down a serial killer whose victims appear to have a connection to Zoolander. From there the plot unfolds as Mugatu’s evil plans are revealed and Zoolander, Hansel and Velentina race to save the next victim.
Though a little more complicated than the original, the plot is still fairly predictable and derivative of many other films from several genres including spy-thrillers, fantasy, and horror, though obviously with a comedic slant. The style and comedy of Zoo 2 are very similar to the first, so if you liked Zoolander, you will probably like the sequel (same goes if you hated it). I wasn’t a big fan of the bit about Hansel’s entourage of scorned lovers, but the new Kristen Wiig character Alexandra Atoz with her extremely unusual accent was hilarious and I wish she would have played more prominently. Benedict Cumberbatch also has a really funny cameo as androgynous model “All”. Not every bit is a winner, but most left me chuckling out loud and they come in steady streams throughout the film. As I had hoped, the satirical indictment of the fashion industry is on full display and even ratcheted up a notch, and everyone takes part in the fun including some of the biggest names in the world of fashion.
Zoolander No. 2 is a sequel that gives us more of the same, which in this case is a good thing. It’s more of what we liked about Zoolander, but in a slightly different way and with new and funny characters, as well as our old favorites. This long-awaited sequel doesn’t stray too far from the formula that worked and, smartly, appeals to its core fan base which for this kind of movie, either you are or you aren’t.
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::: Renowned For Sound Technical Director and Film Reviewer ::: Robert is an IT geek, movie fan and part-time movie reviewer/editor. Robert also looks after the ‘behind the scenes’ technical elements of Renowned For Sound.