Zoolander 2 Review
The hardest movies to make are sequels to comedies. Part of what makes comedy good is the element of surprise. When you sit to watch a comedy for the first time, there is no telling what is going to get you laughing. After the initial shock of the joke or the situation or whatever makes you laugh, you come to expect it. The genre works a lot like the horror genre, where when you see a certain scare, its really hard to duplicate the same exact scare. I think there is a pretty good reason why all the sequels to "The Exorcist" were shitty, and there hasn't been another awesome exorcism movie. There can only be so much that can be done with some ideas that sequels seem pointless, the same can be said about comedy.
I actually liked "Zoolander" when it came out over ten years ago. Yes, its a silly, goofy and a complete oddball of a movie. But it didn't feel like anything I had seen before, I thought both Ben Stiller and Owen were funny. I liked Will Ferrell as the villain. There was a lot of stuff that was up my alley comedy-wise. Here's the rub though, I know I am in the minority when it comes to liking the movie. I also feel it was a movie that didn't need a sequel. "Zoolander 2" suffers from "Hangover" syndrome, when we get a sequel to a great comedy that we really didn't need. It also is very reminiscent of "Dumb and Dumber To" where if it came out closer to the first, it may have been better. There is so much to this sequel that feels so outdated that I wonder why they even bothered at all.
Like many sequels to comedy, the movie relies so much on comedy from the first film that everything is predictable. Every possible trap a comedy sequel could possibly muster, "Zoolander 2" falls into. Sure, the Valentina Interpol Agent played by Penelope Cruz is different. Sure, how Zoolander's life fell apart over the last fifteen years sets up the story fine, and how Hansel (Wilson) and him aren't the best of friends right now. I even got a bit of a kick out of the good looking celebrities getting killed off by a shadowy organization. There was lots of good material here to make a good comedy. Its just that not of it got used, what we did get ended up not being very funny, and that's just sad all around.
What's also weird about "Zoolander 2" is that so much of it feels like a missed opportunity. The weird character Benedict Cumberbatch plays is ripe for comedic gold, but of course we barely see him. There are things about "Zoolander 2" that just didn't make any sense, story arcs that were picked up and then dropped. It is almost as if the editor didn't even watch the film in order to edit it. There was so much potential in characters and situations, but the boat is missed completely. It is never a good sign when I see so much potential in comedy and jokes, then the movie never lives up to any of it. What a wet blanket.
The actors are fine in this, its just they are never given anything funny. They never live up to the hype or given a good moment to shine. Everything is so ordinary and so by-the-book that this sequel becomes useless. All of a sudden I am terrified of "Independence Day: Resurrgence." Because, is it possible to sit on an idea too long? Is it healthy to make sequels to comedy? I don't really know anymore. As someone who liked the first movie, but could barely stand this one, that should say something to fans of these movies. If I can't even like a movie that has Justin Bieber dying a horrible death in the first five minutes, then something has gone terribly wrong.
FINAL GRADE: D-