Stars of the well-loved original Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell are joined by new-kids-on-the-block Kristen Wiig and Penélope Cruz in this absolutely crazy sequel that fans have waited 15 years for.
Forced out of the modelling game when both his Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good and his reputation collapses, a shamed Derek Zoolander (Stiller) now lives life as a recluse in the winter-wilderness that is 'extreme northern New Jersey.' He spends his days struggling to come to terms with losing his wife Matilda in the accident, and subsequently sending his son to social services when he couldn't 'make spaghetti soft' or look after little Derek on his own, until he gets a mysterious invitation to once again be a part of the fashion world by designer Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig).
Meanwhile, his old rival Hansel (Wilson), who also walked away scarred from the incident and is now shacked up with his 11 lovers in a hut amongst the golden sand dunes of 'uncharted Malibu territory', also receives the same message.
The unlikely pair travel to Rome under the pretence that they will be starring in Atoz's presentation of her upcoming collection, but become embroiled in an Interpol investigation into the murder of Justin Bieber... and other beautiful celebrities, all of whom have posted a selfie of themselves throwing a signature Zoolander pose moments before they died.
Ariana Grande in a bondage mask, Benedict Cumberbatch whipping Ben Stiller whilst dressed as an androgynous black-lipsticked valkyrie and Fred Armisen's face disturbingly superimposed onto the body of an 11-year-old boy are just some of the oddities you will find yourself presented with when watching crazy sequel Zoolander 2, and they're the successfully funny ones you can just about get your head around.
The standard components of a Zoolander movie still remain. Stiller is still present, but just like Derek, he seems a bit of a has-been this time round. The flitting wide eyes and animated eyebrows are used well, but lacking in any memorable lines throughout, he gets upstaged constantly, with even Wilson's Hansel landing a lot of the film's humour rather than repetitive 'yes Derek is really, really dim' jokes.
Often in caper comedies, particularly in hammed-up ones like this, the villains steal the show, a trend that Zoolander 2 follows. Kristen Wiig's gliding, botoxed Atoz threatens to steal the show in every scene she's in but unfortunately, she's far too underused and gets completely eclipsed once Will Ferrell's Mugatu shows up.
That's not to say Ferrell isn't great himself though, but again he only crops up about three quarters of the way through, providing some much needed energy to a film that was starting to fall a little flat. Short sequences that see the eccentric and caricature-like baddies together are arguably some of the best in the film – it's just a shame they didn't make the most of their best talent.
Someone who is not so villainous these days, yet similarly is only in the film briefly, is Justin Bieber, who in the last year or so has gone from a disliked child star to a respected musician in his own right. This real-life turn of events is a blow for the film, which plays heavily on the running gag that Biebs has been killed. We get the impression we should be cheering – but no, it's actually a bummer. Even though only on screen for less than a few minutes, the blonde bopper boasts some commendable comedic chops as he carefully selects the right Instagram filter for his final social media huzzah after being delivered several rounds of bullets straight to the chest.
Its these types of awkward to watch, on-the-mark scenes that prove Justin Theroux's stamp on the picture. Remember that Robert Downey Jr 'black dude' joke in Trophic Thunder that didn't go down so well? Some of the first movie's brilliance lied in its ability to be innocent whilst depicting things such as the darker side of fashion, orgies and Prime Minister assassination. Zoolander 2 doesn't try so hard to be tame. It even drops an F-bomb at one point... we're firmly in the realms of adult comedy now.
But bringing out a film as odd and as unabashedly stupid as this during Oscar season is bold, and just proves how little it cares about being considered an actual piece of cinema. It's completely playing by its own rules though and for that, it has to be admired. The actors are having a good time, that's evident, and despite a questionable plot, you can't help but feel it a little too.
Another thing that impresses is the fact that they managed to top the original's amount of cameos. But unlike the first movie, here, many become a true part of the story, and it makes them all the better. Most notable is Kiefer Sutherland, who, as a member of Hansel's orgy lover group, can now apparently add getting pregnant to the long list of physical skills he acquired after years acting in 24 and a short-but-satisfying Susan Boyle gag.
Some however don't work so well. Albeit about fashion, chances are, the film's target audience aren't necessarily going to recognise the likes of Valentino, Tommy Hilfiger and Marc Jacobs at first glance, (we just about successfully clocked Anna Wintour), so some of the cameos fail to impress as a fleeting gag. It's obvious that Theroux knew that many of them wouldn't be identified either as as they start cropping up, the characters frequently refer them to by their full names, drilling it in that they've got some serious high-profile moguls to agree to star in this nonsensical movie! Impressive, right (?)
All in all, those who loved the bonkers nature of the first one are likely to enjoy the stupidity being cranked up to the full in this one, but considering its selling itself as an almost-spy-thriller with a more intriguing plot than the original, Zoolander 2 somewhat disappoints. Bigger and more brash doesn't necessarily mean better, and despite some redeeming gold moments from players Wiig, Ferrell – and surprisingly Bieber – that's ultimately the outcome.