It's rare that something has the staying power after 15 years. Ben Stiller is hoping that Zoolander is one of those things. This was a sequel that nonw of us asked for but were kind of glad was made. In 2001, when the first Zoolander came out, it was the comedic shock of the year. I don't know why but I totally thought it looked terrible plus I was still in college and I only saw films that looked excellent because I had no money. A few years later I saw Zoolander and couldn't believe how funny it was. I actually felt stupid for being so late to the party on it. Because of that, when I saw the trailer for the Zoolander No. 2 I thought it looked terrible but was still excited to be surprised all over again. Oh, I was surprised alright, but for the wrong reasons.
Say what you will about Stiller, but the man is a very funny man. He often plays the straight guy but he does that well, almost better than when he plays characters like Derek Zoolander. However, a lot of people don't know that he writes and directs these movies as well. He directed Reality Bites, Cable Guy and what I consider one of the funniest films about films, Tropic Thunder. All this in addition to the Zoolander movies. I consider them all success in their own ways. Because of his success, whenever he releases a movie I try to see it but ZoolanderNo. 2 felt like nothing more than a needless money-grab that there wasn't even a demand for. Making it 15 years later made it feel even more desperate no matter how many self-evident references to their age they put in the film.
This isn't to say that there aren't moments that are really funny…of course there are. The manic zaniness of the first one is still present and that makes me belly laugh most of the time. Where this falls off the rails is in the avalanche of cameos that are so plentiful it's not even shocking or funny anymore rendering the cameos themselves annoying and the source of eye-rolls. It also has an absolutely terrible plot. I know, I know, "it's Zoolander! The plot is supposed to be stupid." That's true but when a film is so poorly written it feels insulting, I have an issue with that. Trying to incorporate a story about his son, who is fat and ugly (a joke that feels wrong to laugh at) gets stale right away but hangs out for another hour like a guest who won't leave your house.
One of the best additions to the film is Kristen Wiig, who's usually the best addition to every film. She plays a character that's a cross between Lady Gaga and Donatella Versace. She steals every scene she's in and is allowed to be some of the weirdest we've ever seen from her. Will Ferrell returns as Mugatu again. That character is amazingly funny but they made a massive mistake by keeping him hidden for most of the film. He doesn't make an appearance until the final act and when he does, it's a reminder to the audience as to how we wish we had him for the first hour. The best move from Stiller was to cast Kyle Mooney as another villain who has more screen time than Wiig or Ferrell. He's relatively unknown outside of comedy nerds and SNL fans but his hipster character drifts back and forth from intentionally annoying to really funny but always impressive in his delivery.
Zoolander No. 2 isn't a good movie. It's funny but not worth seeing in a theater. Those of us that love the original and still quote it when the mood hits us will not be disappointed but also won't be disappointed if you we don't see it either. It adds nothing and doesn't advance the story in a direction you'll care about at all. It's mindless. It's stupid. It's shallow. But at its core, isn't that what Zoolander is all about? It's possible that people will judge it too harshly and it doesn't deserve that, but it doesn't deserve your money either.
Harvey Weinstein, a big Hollywood producer and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, made a statement on Wednesday that's causing a bit of a stir in the film community.
He and Leonardo DiCaprio were together at a function in New York, and Harvey made a speech that included this tidbit:
"As an Academy member, you're not supposed to endorse anyone up for an Academy Award, but I have to say Leo DiCaprio is so amazing in The Revenant. His devoztion and the way he rolls it all up into something beautiful is amazing. I've never worked with anyone who's so wonderful and so classy."
Nice words, but as a member of the Academy, he's not supposed to say anything that could be seen as an endorsement.
And even with his disclaimer at the start of the statement, how can you not see this as him saying he wants Leo to win an Oscar for Best Actor?
Let's see if this controversy gets any bigger.
Meanwhile, in case you haven't seen the movie, here's what all the buzz is about...