After 15 years of anticipation, Ben Stiller returns as the director and star of Zoolander II to recreate a deliberately idiotic comedy about the fashion industry. Alongside fashion model Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) is modeling companion Hansel (Owen Wilson). Together, they get caught up in elaborate plot that is leaving celebrities dead, while trying to regain their “top model” status.
Will Ferrell also returns to the films list of original cast members as Mugatu, the evil fashion designer, who all along as been in a maximum security prison (for attempting to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia.) There are many references and key points in the first movie that are necessary to comprehend this film (not that the film is even worth comprehending.) As Mugatu serves his time in the prison that houses the world’s most despicable “fashion criminals,” Derek grieves the death of his wife and the loss of his son, who was taken by Child Protective Services.
Hansel also does his share of soul-searching (which is expected, after living a life boasting in vanity) and leaves his “family” devastated, after impregnating all of them, and then leaving. Penelope Cruz comes into play as Melanie Valentina, a a kind of fashion police, detective, former swimsuit model agent. She is trying to find out why celebrities keep getting killed, and she needs the assistance of Derek Zoolander. There were appearances by many celebrities, who must have been hopeful that this film would become as infamous as the first one did, which was sadly not the case.
Will Ferrell’s character eventually works his way into the plot with Stiller and Wilson for jokes that are predictable and humor that seems forced. It is not easy to make stupidity seem humorous, and unfortunately the three actors could not pull it off a second time. So much great comedic material has been released since the original Zoolander was made in 2001, that it is possible our humor has evolved and it takes more than idiotic gags to entertain us. There may have been a time where this style of comedy was still fresh and funny, and if there was, Ben Stiller has long surpassed his window of opportunity, but at least they all look good doing it.