Friday, February 12, 2016

'Zoolander 2' - Worth the Wait?

Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Penelope Cruz star in Zoolander 2
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Penelope Cruz star in Zoolander 2
MOVIE REVIEW
How long is too long to release a sequel movie? For Star Wars fans, about two months. The original Zoolander movie about the ultimate male supermodel came out in 2001. Audiences then were divided whether they loved or hated the film but none stood in-between.

This weekend, the long awaited sequel takes flight and already, audiences are divided once again. For me personally, I had a great time and thought everyone else in the theater did too as there were a lot of laughs, but as I descended down an elevator with a bunch of attendees, I learned that that was not the case. I was surrounded by haters of the film.

This could be the shortest review ever as the bottom line is, if you liked the first Zoolander movie, chances are that you will like Zoolander 2 just as much, if not, don’t bother reading any further. Seriously. I won’t be able to convince you otherwise. Nor should I. Both films are just plain silly and spiral out of control by the time the film ends. There’s really no point to them. No heavy message and no strings of the heart will be pulled. (If there are, then you really need to get out more.) But for me, I couldn’t stop laughing and sometimes that is exactly what you want from a movie.

Perhaps the best way to describe Zoolander 2 is when you’re with a group of buddies and it’s late at night and everything seems funny. That’s how this film feels. (The next time this happens I just might take out my laptop and write the next big screenplay.)

Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell in Zoolander 2
Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell
Zoolander 2 is far from perfect. Some jokes get set up only to fall on deaf ears. In a few scenes, a cameo is meant to surprise the audience with delight, but from what I noticed at the screening I attended, some of those scenes didn’t work. It was clear that only half of the theater knew who the cameo actors were. In one scene, Susan Sarandon appears. I recognized her, but I didn’t understand why her presence in that scene made it funny. And yes, there were a number of tasteless jokes and references to more tasteless acts. At least these were not shown on the screen. And while I wouldn’t suggest you rush to have your Bible study group attend a screening of the film, I would caution you to not take the movie too seriously. Sure, there probably is enough material here to offend just about anybody if any of the material was meant to be hurtful or shocking just to be shocking, but that just isn’t the case. We’re talking Ben Stiller who doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.

Unlike the first film that loosely followed the lives of male supermodels in settings that were somewhat based on reality (fashion shows, parties, etc), Zoolander 2 shows a more “unique” version of the fashion world. In this world, there are secret underground agencies, real fashion police as well as a fashion prison for those who have bad taste.

Justin Bieber in "Zoolander 2"
Justin Bieber is a good sport in Zoolander 2
Stiller and Owen Wilson reprise their roles as Derek Zoolander and Hansel who have had a falling out when Zoolander’s “Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Wanna Learn to do Other Stuff Good Too” came crashing down just two days after it was built. The horrible event “disfigured” Hansel’s face and crushed Zoolander’s wife. Even Zoolander’s son, Derek Jr., was taken from him. The two isolated themselves like “hermit crabs” in different parts of the country and shutting out the rest of the world. Fortunately, through a series of events, and Billy Zane, the two are reunited with each other, seek to find Derek Jr. and become fashion icons once again. But things do go as planned. Zoolander locates his son only to discover that he’s … fat and the fashion world is not what it used to be.

In addition to all of the fun cameos, the film also stars Penelope Cruz as Valentina, a fashion agent who never became a supermodel and instead had to be a lowly swimsuit model, Kristen Wiig as Alexanya Atoz with the world’s worst accent but the best costumes and Will Ferrell as the evil Mugatu.
See slides from the movie from the original posting on Examiner.com

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