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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Zoolander 2

May 23rd, 2016

Zoolander 2 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Video on Demand

Zoolander 2

Zoolander came out in 2001. It wasn't beloved by critics and wasn't a major hit in theaters, but did well enough on the home market to develop a loyal following. Zoolander 2 hit theaters earlier this year and failed to live up to its predecessor at the box office. Is this because its target audience had forgotten about the first film? Or did it fail at the box office, because it was just really bad?

The Movie

The film begins in Rome with someone being chased by two assassins on motorcycles. The man is revealed to be Justin Bieber. He is able to take out one of his assailants, but when he can't get into Sting's place he is shot down. His death scene takes nearly a minute and a half, including about ten seconds to choose a filter for his death selfie. None of it is funny. Valentina Valencia, at the Fashion Division of Interpol, notes that Bieber is the sixth pop star to die recently... Bruce Springsteen isn't a "pop star". He's a Rock 'n' Roll Legend. Each dead celebrity used their dying breaths to take a selfie and each one did the same look before dying. Valentina knows of only one man who knows what this means, but he's in self-imposed exile.

That man is Derek Zoolander. We flashback and see news reports of the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good collapsing just two days after it was built. Derek and his son survived, his wife did not. Hansel's face was disfigured during the same accident. Shortly after, he loses custody of his son and decides to quit being a model and becomes a recluse.

Back to the present day, Derek Zoolander is going by the name Eric and living in a remote part of I don't care when Billy Zane delivers his mail. It includes a holographic message from Alexanya Atoz, the owner of the largest fashion empire. She invites Derek to Rome where he will be in a fashion show. At first Derek doesn't want to go, but Billy Zane convinces him to go by telling him this comeback could be the first step to getting his son back.

Meanwhile in another location I didn't catch, Hansel is living with his orgy, who are angry with him, because he hasn't grown up. He needs to grow up, because every member of his orgy is pregnant, even Kiefer Sutherland. The thought of being a father sends him in a panic, but before he can figure out if he can be a father, Billy Zane delivers his mail, which includes a message identical to the one Zoolander got.

The pair arrive in Rome and at first they don't want to speak to each other. Hansel still blames Zoolander for his facial scar that cost him his modeling career. However, they quickly bond over their shared stupidity. There's a cringe-worthy scene with All and then their comeback on the fashion stage. Turns out, the designer, Don Atari used them as a joke. Alexanya Atoz, on the other hand, wants to invite them to the IncrediBALL, which will be the first time in history all of the great fashion designers will be together.

Hansel is excited, but Zoolander wants nothing to do with fashion again. That's when Valentina Valencia catches up with him. Remember the prologue with Justin Bieber? Well, the plot finally caught up to that part. Valentina said she will help Zoolander find his son, Derek, Jr., if he helps Interpol crack this case. He gives them a clue, the look everyone had been using isn't Blue Steel, but Aqua Vitae. In exchange for this information, Valentina looks up Derek, Jr. He's in Rome.

Is this just a coincidence? Or is there someone pulling the strings? And will the reunion between Zoolander and his son be successful?

I had to watch this movie twice to review it and I regret every minute of it. Entire scenes can happen and there's not a single identifiable joke. Most of the attempts at humor are limited to pop culture references and Gratuitous Cameos. The opening sequence is a perfect example of this. I said it took 90 seconds above, but that was just Justin Bieber's death scene, from the first second he was shot till he finally died. The full scene was more than twice that without a single joke landing. I think maybe we were supposed to be happy Justin Bieber was killed, but if so, this is lazy writing. Lazy is a good way to describe the movie as a whole. Too many jokes are recycled from the original movie and things that worked before are reused here to no effect.

Is there anything in this movie that works? Yes. Will Ferrell. He's not mentioned in the plot summary above, because by the time Jacobim Mugatu enters the plot, we are past spoiler territory. ... Also, this movie wasn't worth the effort of describing the plot and I might have put more effort into writing the plot summary than was put into writing the movie. The two best parts of the movie both involve Will Ferrell, including his scene in the prison when Zoolander visits him and the other is the final villain monologue where he reveals the surprise twist about his plan. Speaking of the plan, it was convoluted enough that had more of the jokes landed, it would have been a great parody of the trope. As it is, I didn't actually care about the main plot, or any of the side plots either. There are some smaller elements that worked. Kiefer Sutherland and Billy Zane put way too much effort into their small roles.

On a side note, I think All is going to really date this movie. The character comes across as a transphobic joke. I'm not saying the writers are transphobic; I think it was unintentional.

The Extras

Extras include a 9-minute featurette on The Zoolander Legacy, which is part making of / part retrospective. Go Big or Go Rome is a 8-minute featurette about shooting in Italy. Up next is an 8-minute featurette on Drake Sather, a stand-up comic and writer who helped to create Derek Zoolander and co-wrote the original screenplay and who sadly committed suicide a few years later. Finally there's Youth Milk, a faux-commercial for a beauty product. That's not a lot of extras for a first-run release.

The Verdict

Almost nothing about Zoolander 2 works and the best parts don't show up until the second half of the movie. Add in a weak DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack and there's no reason to buy the movie. I wouldn't even recommend renting it. Maybe watch it on Netflix when it gets there, if you really liked the first movie.

Filed under: Video Review, Zoolander 2, Penélope Cruz, Benedict Cumberbatch, Will Ferrell, Bruce Springsteen, Ben Stiller, Sting, Kiefer Sutherland, Christine Taylor, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson, Billy Zane, Justin Bieber, Drake Sather, Cyrus Arnold, Kyle Mooney