I consider Zoolander to be one of the best comedies of all time. Absolutely genius. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson were still relative unknowns, as was the villain of the movie, played by Will Ferrell. Things have changed in the 15 years since the original film came out so I was definitely curious if they could recapture the magic of the original.
Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) has gone into hiding after his wife has been killed and his son taken away by Child Protective Services. His former friend Hansel (Owen Wilson) is also hiding away because of a hideous scar he received in the same accident that killed Zoolander’s wife. However, fashionista Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig) wants them to come back and walk the runway in a major show in Rome. Zoolander believes this may redeem him in the eyes of the public and potentially give him the chance to see his son again.
Also in the mix we have a secret agent (Penelope Cruz) who is hunting down someone who is mysteriously killing beautiful people. It turns out that former fashion villain Mugatu (Will Ferrell) may have information that’s key to figuring this all out.
Unfortunately very little. The highlight of the film is undoubtedly Will Ferrell who absolutely saves the day in the second half. He is the only person in this cast who seems to be putting in any effort and it shows. He lights up the screen and it finally wakes you up after a dull hour before that. It’s great to see Mugatu back.
Also the idea of the movie works. In a simple pitch, this should’ve been a great movie. The plot makes sense in a general way but none of it comes to life in a way that works.
What doesn’t work?
This movie should never have been made. The jokes are painfully unfunny. In the opening sequence, pop star Justin Bieber is murdered. They tried to land five or six good jokes and they all fell flat. I knew after this opening sequence alone that this movie was going to bomb. The jokes don’t work, aside from maybe a handful across the entirety of the film (and most of the ones that work come from Ferrell).
Another big problem is Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. In the original, these two actors had to care. This was their shot to break into film and become stars. Here, there are no stakes and you can tell that these two are completely apathetic about being here. Either they’re apathetic or they’ve somehow lost their charm. Could be either.
I groaned vocally. I shook my head often. I think I even said “No…” after a few jokes.
None of this works. The cameos are painful because you know these stars showed up and did a favor here but very few work. Kiefer Sutherland plays a big part and he tries to give it his everything but the writing is horrible (and there’s a really weird miscarriage joke that really shouldn’t have made it into the film).
Don’t see this. You’ll regret it. Remember Zoolander for what it was. I think it’s still on Netflix, go watch it there.
This movie should never exist. It lacks the heart, the passion, and the intelligence of the original. It rehashes jokes from the original but fails to really land any of them. Stiller and Wilson both feel lifeless. I’m not giving this movie a 1-star only because of Will Ferrell, who feels like the only person trying and actually delivers a great performance as Mugatu. Everyone else missed the mark completely, including the writers.