Life can be a nightmare when you’re really, really, ridiculously good looking. Just ask Derek Zoolander, reprised by the still likeable Ben Stiller. In the sequel to the 2001 comedy, that forever etched “Blue Steel” into the pop culture landscape, Derek must pull himself out of self-imposed exile to become the modeling sensation of his former glory. The reason: to win back the son tragically taken from him due to less-than-stellar parenting (i.e. being far too stupid to raise the child). What follows begins as a fish out of water story of an old model trying to make it in a fashion world that seems much grungier and hipster-centric than what he left behind. Trust me when I say that the hipster characters encountered are incredibly obnoxious, but they’re still worth a few good laughs. It’s not too long before we again find ourselves in a story centering on espionage, secret plots, and ridiculous villainy; the villainy being courtesy of Will Ferrell’s escaped Mugatu, as deranged as ever. Joined again by his rival turned bestie Hansel, Owen Wilson, and the beautiful Interpol (fashion-division) agent Melanie Valentina, Penèlope Cruz.
The first film served as a satirical look into the world of male modeling, sprinkled with elements of absurdity, this sequel takes things to an entirely new level. While an early portion of the film serves to poke fun at some current modeling and fashion trends, it is not focused upon quite to the level of the first film. It more or less serves as a catalyst to draw Derek back into the story. It’s rather easy to paint a parallel between this film and Ferrell’s 2013 Anchorman sequel. Whereas Ferrell’s first foray into the news realm came with its moments of zaniness, the sequel went completely out of its way to take things over the top. The same could be said for Zoolander No. 2, though I can say I enjoyed this film a bit more. For whatever reason, these over the top moments, as overdone as they may have been, better served in Stiller’s film than they ever did in Anchorman 2.
Is Zoolander No. 2 a good film? In the traditional sense, or in regards to award considerations, no it was not… Then again, that was never the point of this movie. Just like many other comedy or action flicks, the point isn’t to paint a deep and meaningful story. Sure, there may be smart moments of satire throughout, but the real motive is to provide an entertaining romp for the audience. In that regard, yes, it was a good movie; it had plenty of genuinely laugh-worthy moments, took time to point out the ludicrousness of some of our pop culture norms, and was just long enough to not wear out its welcome (at just over an hour-and-a-half running time). If you are looking for a good time at the movies this weekend, are a fan of Stiller’s other work, and love the song “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, then Zoolander No.2 may be the right choice for you.