• Wes Singleton

Review: Zoolander 2, C-

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson

Rated PG-13, 100 minutes

The mildly enjoyable new Ben Stiller comedy sequel "Zoolander No. 2" is much like coffee and can be an acquired taste: it may go down bitter at first, but once it warms you up, it'll satisfy you. The first "Zoolander" way back in 2001 was an equally acquired and divisive taste, either you loved it or hated it (I'm generally in the second camp), though it became modest hit over time. With its absurdist tone, bright visuals and the always energetic Will Ferrell, "Zoolander No. 2" doesn't always hit its mark on the runway, but there are a few chuckles. When the "world's most beautiful people" are systematically assassinated with formerly famous male model Derek Zoolander's trademark "Blue Steel" look on their face, Interpol recruits Derek (Stiller, who also directed and co-wrote) and his friend Hansel (Owen Wilson) to infiltrate a new and different world of high fashion in order to put a stop to it. Derek's rival Jacobim Mugatu (Ferrell) is set free and could be behind the deadly attacks. Comedy sequels rarely work better than the original, and "Zoolander No. 2" is no exception, though if you enjoyed the absurdity of the first film, you'll enjoy this one too, though that silliness is both its strong point and chief flaw: it throws so much at the audience - including a ton of cameos and sight gags - you're bound to like something eventually. The wobbly, unfunny first act makes you wonder how much of it will actually be all that good, though it rebounds with more laughs later in the film, when Ferrell along with a gang of high fashion cameos (the likes of Anna Wintour, Tommy Hilfilger, Vera Wang and Valentino) arrive to steal the show. On that note, it's stuffed with cameos and jokes that work (the "whore pasta" and the funniest cameo, Neil Degrasse Tyson), while others fall woefully flat (Fred Armisen as a creepy little kid and Benedict Cumberbatch as a Marilyn Manson-esque model), while others are unrecognizable (yes, that's Kristen Wiig underneath a ton of makeup). Abundantly silly and mostly dumb, "Zoolander No. 2," is a guilty pleasure and will make you chuckle more than you care to admit, even if the absurdity seems as overdone as an Ed Hardy t shirt and acid washed jeans. Sure, there's a few laughs to be had, but in its quest to be the Hugo Boss of comedy, you're gonna end up with TJ Maxx.

#zoolander #benstiller