Saturday, July 9, 2016

Zoolander 2

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! But why male models?

Zoolander 2 – 4 out of 5

I was enamored with the first Zoolander film.  Having comedy that is witty with its stupidity is a very difficult balancing act and I found that one did it magically.  It’s still a movie that makes me laugh to this day and it’s just one of those cult comedies that I find I quote in everyday life a lot—probably a lot more than I should.  Needless to say, I was pretty damn excited that, after 15 years, I’d get to see the model that is really, really, really, incredibly good looking return to the screen.  However, after seeing the initial reviews for Zoolander 2, I was a tad hesitant to see it in the theaters.  After finally seeing it when it hit the home media department, I gotta say that I have to go against the grain on this one because I had a lot of fun with it.

Let's just get this out of the way early...I don't have any strong opinions on Justin
Bieber and actually found his scene pretty amusing.

Sadly, there was no Walk-Offs in this.
It turns out the years weren’t good to Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller).  Turns out the building materials for his Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Who Want to Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too was made of cheap building materials and the entire thing came collapsing down; killing his wife and injuring his friend Hansel (Owen Wilson) in the process.  Without his wife, Derek proved to be an incompetent father and his son; Derek Jr., was taken from him.  After years in isolation, Derek and Hansel are brought out of retirement after several musicians are found dead and with Derek’s signature looks plastered on their face.  With the help of Interpol agent Valentina Valencia (Penélope Cruz), he’s back in the game to get to the bottom of it all and to try and get his son back (played by Cyrus Arnold).  However, they soon learn the musicians are being killed due to an ancient prophecy and that it all leads back to the devious Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell).

Derek Jr. has got the power!  The power of Blue Steel.

Sequels that arrive a decade plus after the original can be a tricky thing; on one hand they satisfy a nostalgia itch (and nostalgia is bigger than ever right now) but, on the other hand, they sometimes just feel like they are rehashing all the same moments from the original film and it leaves the viewing experience feeling vacuous and hollow (this is a big reason the sequel to Dumb and Dumber didn’t work for me despite the fact I love the original so much).  Zoolander 2 could have easily fallen into that trap but I found the film to be the right mix of call-backs to the previous tale and an all new adventure for the characters.

I have no clue how Kristen Wiig was able to keep a straight face and utter
out her outrageous lines in this one.

Does Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson age?
Granted, Zoolander 2 does often makes jokes and gags that are referencing the first film, paying homage to some of its classic scenes or flat-out trying to re-do the joke and these moments range from being mildly amusing to a tad weak.  Ultimately, however, the film still carries the spirit of the first film, the characters feel the same despite nearly two decades added to their belt and the new gags were endlessly satisfying for me.  I honestly was worried I would end up hating the film because of all the bad reviews I saw but I was pleasantly surprised by how often and how hard I found myself laughing at Derek’s stupidity and all the send-ups this film throws out at modeling and celebs.

I know there was some outrage over the character of All and some felt that he was a
mockery of the transgender community but I saw him as just a funny character
that teased androgyny.  Didn't really see anything mean spirited about it.

If there was a bad side to the comedy, it’s the fact that I’m not sure this one is as quotable or memorable as the first one.  To this day, I reference events that happen in the first film like talking about how hot Hansel is right now or about eugoogoolies or asking people, “But why male models?” (Heck, I referenced that last one in the Disclaimer)  While there are many a-moments I dug in this film, I’m not entirely sure that they have the lasting impact as something like four supermodels having a gasoline fight.

Getting to see Will Ferrell again as Mugato is probably what it will feel like
for Christians to see the second coming of Christ.  (Yeah, that was offensive.)

Sting's epic beard should be considered its own
awesome cameo!
In the spirit of the first film, this one has a ton of celebrity cameos.  Hell, a lot of them are icons from the fashion industry and considering I shop at big box stores and pretty much only wear cargo shorts with a pop culture t-shirt I didn’t know who these people were and they just flew by me with nary a recognition.  Other cameos were a little easier for me and I found them pretty amusing.  Whether it’s a moment with Neil deGrasse Tyson or moments that had Justin Beiber, Billy Zane, Keifer Sutherland, Fred Armisen, Skrillex and an exceptionally funny bit part from Sting, the cameos do provide some amusement and a bit of excitement of who is going to show up next.  Occasionally, it got a little ridiculous but the first one had tons of famous faces showing up for a second or two so this element is just expected.

Um, some cameos are harder to deal with than others.
I'd take more Bieber than the Fat Jew any day.

I won’t argue that Zoolander 2 is a perfect comedy but I enjoyed it more than I usually enjoy sequels to cult comedies—especially ones that took over a decade to arrive.  Some jokes can be dumb but some were absolutely hysterical and I really felt it had the perfect balance of satisfying the nostalgia desire but also be its own film.  The performances are just as entertaining as the first time and this one brought in some fun new characters for Derek and Hansel to interact with.  Finally, the film just looked good and Ben Stiller’s slick eye really made the film look good—like really, really, really good.  Overall, I had a lot of fun with this one.

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