By: Akram Shaban
Zoolander 2 is the sequel to Ben Stiller’s 2001 comedy. Derek Zoolander returns 14 years later as an exiled former world famous model. With his wife dead from a tragic accident and deemed unfit to raise his only child, he saw no choice but to exclude himself from society. Unfortunately for the film, I would have very much rather he remained isolated.
The supporting cast includes heartthrob Penélope Cruz as a fashion officer working for Interpol. Will Ferrell returns as Mugatu, and does things you won’t care about by the end. Owen Wilson is in it too, I guess. Finally, the best thing about the movie, Justin Bieber, makes an appearance as himself. Yes, I said it! The best part about Zoolander 2 is a one and a half minute segment featuring Bieber. Actually, I’m pretty sure it was thirty seconds, with the rest of the time being a stunt double.
Let me see if I can paint an accurate picture of how mind-numbingly stupid and boring this movie is. The story is incomplete, inconsistent, and full of obvious plot holes that are easily avoidable. It’s as if they didn’t even try to patch it up before shooting. The dialogue is so bad and unnatural that you’d think the whole thing was done in one take. The script didn’t do the movie justice either, with jokes going over the heads of what little audience there was. And worst of all, it was more offensive than it was funny. I would have chuckled once or twice more if it didn’t put me in a bad mood by the end.
Oh yeah, and Penelope Cruz was simply out of place. Why do we keep seeing Oscar nominated and winning actors accepting such terrible roles?
So the plot didn’t make any sense. Zoolander fled to live in exile somewhere in northern New Jersey or whatever state the on-screen text said. The reason being that he essentially murdered his wife. He was negligent about the building materials used in some sort of book museum or whatever, thus causing the structure to collapse. His wife gets caught in the accident. Great set up for a comedy, am I right? He also loses his son because a video of him is leaked, desperately asking the ten-year-old “how mom made the spaghetti soft,” indicating that he’s too stupid to know how boiling works. So far it’s more sad than funny. You feel sorry for how dumb Zoolander is, and for what his son had to grow up with.
Then Billy Zane shows up to remind us that he still exists. Strangely enough, his appearance was one of the funnier moments of the movie, however momentary it was. That is mostly because he was parodying himself. I did not watch the first Zoolander (I was going to but things came up), but I’m going to take a wild guess and say he was a running joke that was brought over to the sequel. He shows up to recruit Zoolander for a prestigious fashion show, promising him that he could get his son back. The show features some guy who calls himself “All,” played by the disappointing Benedict Cumberbatch (still love the guy, though).
Mr. Zane also shows up to recruit Zoolander’s former best friend, and world famous model, Hansel. He too was caught in the tragic accident, scarring his face into retirement. He wears a small mask which covers the mark that supposedly makes him look ugly. First, you think he probably has a big, black eye sized, permanent injury. Then one millisecond later you realize that it’s a comedy and that everything is exaggerated. You figure out that it’s a tiny scar, and the joke it’s supposed to set up is already ruined for you. When the joke finally comes and the big reveal occurs, you don’t laugh. Instead, you start thinking about how awesome Deadpool was. Seriously go watch it if you haven’t already. It could potentially have launched a new era of R-rated comic book movies. The audience is growing up, and perhaps the movies should as well. Oh DAMN YOU SAMAR KHAN! Why did you have to review the good movie! Sorry, I digress…
I’m going to skip to a later point in the movie that will probably bug you, as much as it bugged me. It’s a comedy about fashion, so you’d think it would tackle the topic of body image. But I’m not even sure it knows what it’s trying to say. Zoolander’s son (Derek Jr.) grows up to be a chubby kid because Mugatu has been fattening him up (from prison). Through his accountants, he owns the private school (or was it an orphanage?), which adopted Derek Jr. In addition to being fat, he’s also really smart, reading books written by Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani woman who used to confront terrorists! He later marries her. Of all the people to make the subject of a dumb joke, they chose her. Offensive jokes are ok, as long as they make people laugh. This one didn’t.
Anyway, you discover that Mugatu’s plan is to crush the chance of Derek Jr from ever becoming a model since he possesses ancient hereditary qualities that mold a person into the ultimate fashion icon. Besides the dumb plot, it’s also not funny. There are moments where Zoolander and Hansel discuss Jr, referring to him as being unappealing, (essentially a bad person), for being fat. The joke is that they’re superficial and stupid. And later when the legend is proven to be true, he ends up becoming some world famous chubby model. What’s the lesson here? You need magic to be a fat male model? I wouldn’t be analyzing it this much if it didn’t try to profit from such a stupid premise.
The best part in the movie was when Justin Bieber was comically shot by an assailant for a prolonged period, as he took on a constant spray of bullets. It’s funny not because it’s pandering to his haters, but because it’s mocking their immaturity, and their excessive calls for his death. He also tends to get shot in things he appears in.
There are various plot holes which I will not sacrifice brain cells to recollect. But the main one was in the end, which I know you won’t care that I spoil. When Mugato is about to kill Derek Jr. (to drain the magic from him with a magic knife or something like that), he eventually becomes cornered by Zoolander and his team. Apparently he believed the legend was fake all along, and exposes the truth after being disarmed. The characters themselves question why he was going to kill the boy if he knew nothing would happen. He claims it was a trap. But if it was a trap he would have stopped trying to kill the boy. He didn’t. He throws the knife at him, but Zoolander blocks it with his face.
Afterward, he reveals his true plan, to kill every major fashion icon in the world. He invited them to the chapel where he was supposed to perform the ceremony. He gives a very long speech expressing explicitly what the audience is thinking (that the whole story has been stupid) and proceeds with his plan. He takes out a bomb and throws it in lava that appeared for a reason I can’t remember. Zoolander stops it with his face, but can’t hold on. Some stuff happens, and the bomb is launched at Mugatu, exploding confetti all over the place. This has got to be the dumbest, most rushed, climax I have seen in recent history. If it was a real bomb, it would have killed everybody regardless of whether it fell in the lava or detonated on Mugatu. But the fact that they were in no real danger just makes it dumber. What was the point of all that if he wasn’t even going to kill them? It doesn’t make sense.
The movie finally ends and I walk out looking forward to watching Deadpool again. Pooplander 2 is a criminal waste of money and time and thus deserves an F (2.0/10).