Denman W18 Masthead 2

Review: Zoolander 2

Roslyn Hull

Time has not been kind to Derek and Hansel. But especially Derek – family tragedy and low, low intellect has seen him lose both his wife and son and live the life of a hermit crab in far northern New Jersey (no, really). But someone is killing pop stars and they are all dying with Blue Steel on their faces. Is there a sinister plot? Will Derek get his son back? Who is Hansel’s father? Why Billy Zane?

Well, so much for the intelligent, challenging movies of the awards season.

2oolander is a helluva lot of fun though, especially for everyone who holds a soft spot for the original. Almost the entire cast of the original has returned, with the sad exception of David Bowie, in a story that crosses Bond with bondage, couture with cults and stereotyping with rampant silliness. The story is insane, starts with Zane and ends in triumph for all.

They had me at ‘hello’.

Or rather, after the pre-title CNN updates covering the years between the first movie and this one, when the action starts. There is a vesper vs. parkour chase through Rome that ends in Justin Bieber being riddled with bullets. It is funny, irreverent and topical. It cocks a snoot at lots of sacred cows, from celebrity, social media and yoga to parenthood and fashion, even androgynous models. And more power to everyone involved who pokes fun at their own legend, I say!

Bieber is just the first celebrity, there are cameos by the hundred. If you see this for no other reason, see it to hear Anna Wintour actually speak and Susan Boyle flip the bird. Or for Benedict Cumberbatch prove he really is ‘All’ that. Or to see the softer side of Kiefer Sutherland (it’s a revelation). As is Valentino’s willingness to spoof himself.

Ben Stiller is in fine form, writing, directing and starring in the role I suspect he will be remembered for. If you think I am exaggerating, think about any man you know showing off his latest fashion purchase – he will only do so comfortably if he can give you ‘Blue Steel’, ‘Le Tigre’ or (the holy grail) ‘Magnum’.

Penelope Cruz is hilarious and Owen Wilson invests his uber laconic Hansel with just the right amount of sweet and cra-cra that it is really difficult to pick any faults. His personal orgy is a running gag that just gets better each time.

I have seen the original several times but it turns out I may need to go to the school for ridiculously good looking people who can’t think (if only I wouldn’t fail the physical) because the post-screening conversation last night went like this:

Me: one of the writers was called Justin Theroux, there is an actor called that you know.

Daughter: Mu-um, that’s him, he’s the evil DJ. He wrote the original with Ben Stiller too. And they wrote Tropic Thunder.

Me: No! The serious character actor I admire? Star of The Leftovers and Jennifer Aniston’s fella WRITES as well? And I just saw him breakdancing in dreds, a powdered wig and gold teeth? No!

Daughter: And his uncle is a writer (Paul Theroux) and his cousin makes documentaries (Louis Theroux).

Me: Well hush my mouth (or possibly another phrase to register astonishment)!

No, it isn’t Oscar™ material. Yes, the jokes are telegraphed and the common denominator for the humour is fairly low. Yes, Will Ferrell overacts (well, duh). Yes, it is pretentious (but consciously so) and very silly. There will be those who don’t like it but I laughed out loud.

Roslyn saw this film as a guest of Dendy Cinemas.


Ros Hull

Roslyn is a writer and storyteller who loves all things Canberra, her family, sci fi and movies – but not in that order. She has worked in museum education since 2001 and has a passion for imparting knowledge to others. Writing is her happy place, particularly if there is a dog at her feet and a coffee in her hand. More about the Author