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Zoolander No. 2: Funny Yet More of the Same

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With a cast of great comedic actors and the foundation of the original classic, Zoolander No. 2 doubles the zaniness, but halves the hilarity. With returning actors Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as the lead protagonists and Will Ferrell as a ridiculous antagonist, the comedy goes a long way to ensure the sprit and style of the original. Using the same gags and jokes as the first, the sequel only feels a fraction better.

Stiller and Wilson have just as much chemistry, good or bad, as they did in the first film. Satirizing the shallowness of fashion models, they gallivant throughout the film while relearning the same lessons taught in the first. Despite the lack of new development, the comedic situations are still very much funny.

The two begin the movie as recluses, each in their own habitat, with Stiller mourning the loss of his wife and Wilson pondering his meaning and identity – until a new, hip fashion icon invites both of them back for a fashion show.

Once back to reality, the two are strangers in a strange land with the vastly changed face of fashion taking them by surprise. While used to the glamour of the fashion world, they are shocked by what the industry has turned into: a flip-flopping, inconsistent haphazard of today’s culture.

Using such satirical phrases as “farm to table wifi” and utilizing a toxic waste dump as a runway, the film pokes fun at the antithetical nature of today’s society: a society that is obsessed with natural, organic, health-conscious lifestyles, yet somehow revels in retro-culture that disregards all of these ideas. The movie’s highlights come from its mockery of today’s culture.

Ferrell reprises his role as the delightfully ludicrous Mugatu, now imprisoned. While much of the runtime offers no new footage of Ferrell, and his introduction is disappointingly late, the character is just as funny as it was in 2001.

While the dimwitted stupidity of Stiller’s character grows old, Ferrell remains a great comedic presence in what should be just as tired of a role. His evil plan this time, however, seems far too complex for a simple comedy film. Not complex in a thoughtful, elaborately brilliant way – complex in a confusing, overly-complicated way.

The new additions to the cast are the dead weights of the movie. Penelope Cruz delivers the least comical performance seen in a long while. With the screenwriters using the character as the token hot chick with no real story or development, the character is reduced to a joke about the female body, which Cruz doesn’t even pull off with the dignity and respect that others could have.

The problem that the movie largely suffers from is a lack of place to drive the characters to, as they already got there in the first film.

I have a theory that the longer a gap between comedic movies, the better the sequel will be. This holds true for such franchises as Anchorman and explains the lack-lusterness of “immediate release” sequels such as Ride Along 2 and Haunted House 2. This theory does not hold true for Zoolander, as the comedy is just too repetitive and not substantial enough to cross a span of many years.

While funny enough to sit through and laugh at the simple jokes, the lack of character depth and the confusing plot make the movie a so-so start to 2016 comedies.

Rating: 3/5

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Zoolander No. 2: Funny Yet More of the Same