Two out of Fiver Kernels
“Zoolander 2” is a lot like its lead character: pretty but not bright.
“Zoolander 2” picks up where “Zoolander” left off, and don’t worry if it’s been too long since your last “Zoolander” viewing, because there’s a nice recap.
After a disgraceful opening of The Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too, Derek (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) go into hiding, or “retirement.”
But then the fashion industry calls, and they answer (on tiny phones, of course), if only to prove that they’ve still got it and are not a couple of has-beens.
Meanwhile, Valentina Valencia (Penelope Cruz) is trying to figure out why pop stars are getting killed and more importantly why they all their final photos are the classic Blue Steel look. And the only man who can help her figure it out has a brain as small as his phone (that’s Derek, just to clarify).
Derek and Hansel have their limitations. Derek is easily confused and therefore easily taken advantage of. He also misuses words like “hermit crab” when he means “hermit.” Hansel misinterprets everyone’s meaning and doesn’t get obvious hints. The more he helps Derek try to understand something, the more they both get confused.
All the stupidity is done for over-the-top laughs. Or at least, that’s the idea.
There are several examples of bumbling idiots in film who seem to miraculously stumble into saving the day — take Inspector Clouseau of the “Pink Panther” franchise, for instance — but there is always something else in the movie that makes them enjoyable.
Not so with “Zoolander 2.”
A few jokes seem to land on their feet, most of which have to do with Derek and Hansel being out of touch with the modern world and fashion industry. There are also plenty of callbacks to the first film, with references, props and characters. These all provide a satisfying smile, but most of the time viewers are waiting for the credits to roll.
And it’s not just the characters who are unbearably dull, but the whole story. There is too much uncontrolled insanity that should have been considerably reined in. I can get behind a movie with exaggerated ridiculousness and a story that is all kinds of crazy (think “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” or “Dr. Strangelove”), but it has to make me laugh. “Zoolander 2” did not produce the amount of humor I needed.
Maybe it was just me, although the rest of the theater was pretty silent. If you enjoyed “Zoolander” and want to check out the sequel, you might enjoy it more than I did. But I suggest the smartest thing to do is wait for it to come out on DVD, or skip it altogether.