There’s perhaps no better way to describe the experience of Zoolander 2 than it is exactly what one might expect. Comedy sequels are often hard to crack, and while Ben Stiller essentially tells the exact same story as the original film, there’s a sense that the story has been modernized, yet still retains its irreverence. Is the film intelligent? Far from it, but the self awareness is what strikes comedic gold and makes it one of the more enjoyable comedy sequels.
Set over ten years since the original 2001 Zoolander, the film picks up with Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson), both recovering from personal tragedy. When Zoolander decides to reconnect with his son, the duo is once again pulled in to the world of fashion and crime to stop the evil mastermind Mugatu (Will Ferell). That being said, the plot is secondary here; the film is a series of loosely interconnected gags, and while some of the gross out elements fall felt, a majority of the humor playing of the characters’ stupidity works quite well.
Zoolander 2 is a movie made exactly for those who enjoyed the first film, and while its a specific audience, the franchise has found its niche in its ridiculous humor. Beyond that, the cameos and pop culture references are what make the film, just as the original, a capsule for a specific time. Most importantly, it’s consistently hilarious and shockingly funny, and as a comedy it more than succeeds. Grade: B-