Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on February 12, 2016
Directed by Ben Stiller
Written by Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Nick Stoller, and John Hamburg
Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Kyle Mooney, Nathan Lee Graham, Cyrus Arnold, Fred Armisen, Billy Zane, Benedict Cumberbatch, Milla Jovovich, Christine Taylor, Sting, Jon Daly, Justin Theroux, Jerry Stiller
I’ll admit, I may be a bit snobbish when it comes to comedies; whether they’re classic or current, I insist they display some signs of intelligence…a hint of serious cranial effort that went into creating the film’s story, situations, and dialogue. But every now and then I’ll allow myself a witless or goofy comedic offering, as long as it follows those same guidelines, and is clever in its absurdity: the silliness of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the manic screwball nature of Raising Arizona, and the deadpan foolishness of Airplane! are three modern examples that come to mind.
And then, at the other end of the spectrum, you have the absolute shitstorm of stupidity that is Zoolander 2, the perfect representation of brain-dead cinema that makes me never want to watch comedies again…or at least, comedies that are written, directed, and acted by Ben Stiller. Zoolander 2 is of course a sequel to the 2001 high-fashion spoof Zoolander, a film that died at the box office (and in my opinion, rightfully so), but which slowly built a fan base following its release to cable and home video. Now, fifteen long years later, someone got the idea to do it all again…except this time they did it much, much worse.
Stiller returns as Derek Zoolander, the moronic self-proclaimed modeling god who, after his wife is killed in an accident and he loses custody of his son following the events of the first film, retires from the fashion model biz and becomes a dispirited recluse. Years later, he and his equally-dense modeling friend Hansel (played again by Owen Wilson) are invited to a fashion show in Rome; there, a sexy agent from Interpol recruits the two to help track down the persons responsible for a recent string of pop singer assassinations.
And that’s the part of the screenplay that makes sense; the rest is merely a collection of random plot ideas and situations, held together by a thin thread of irrelevant jokes, self-contained sight gags, and far, far too many unnecessary and misplaced celebrity cameos. Granted, I did chuckle a few times (for a rollover car crash, some knife-throwing moments towards the end, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s humorously disturbing short bit as gender-ambivalent model), and those scant few laughs are what earned this film a two-star rating. But a snicker and a pair of chortles do not a comedy make.
As you may have guessed, I have zero appreciation—and even less patience—for these types of comedies. Zilch. Yes, I know Zoolander 2 and its predecessor are meant to be sarcastic digs at the pomposity and overblown spectacle that are fashion models and fashion shows, and yes, I’m sure everyone had a grand old time making this movie, and I’m sure there’s a gag reel out there lasting well over five wonderfully-hilarious hours. But there are limits to just how much shallow, lazy humor I can stomach in one sitting, and for me this was nothing more than an excuse for a group of actor friends to get together and goof off. All at my expense, unfortunately. (2/10)