Zoolander 2 (12A.)
Directed by Ben Stiller.
Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Benedict Cumberbatch and approximately one hundred celebrity cameos.102 mins.
Comedy is all about timing. You have your moment and you either grab it or you miss it: you can't pipe up afterwards and say, “Oh wait, I've just come up with a really good ad lib for that thing you said five minutes ago.” But if you are a movie star it is possible to say, “Oh wait, you remember that film I made about an incredibly vacuous male model (me) and his rivalry with another incredibly vacuous male model (Wilson) that I made 15 years ago? Well, I've just thought up some new jokes for it!” It's possible; maybe not advisable.
Z2 is certainly fun. There is a nice mix of stupid silly jokes that are funny and clever jokes that are funny. At one point Zoolander is mesmerised by his son's verbal dexterity and says, “You're like a walking Tyrannosaurus.” There are also lots of silly and clever jokes that are sort of funny but there's something about the film that prevents you summoning the energy to laugh at them. This time round the characters are set loose in a Da Vinci Code style plot involving Steve from the Garden of Eden; you know the Steve refered to by all fundamentalist preacher as God Created Adam And Eve, Not Adam And Steve. That Steve.
That's a nice touch, and the film is full of nice touches, but without any overriding point. It has a score that sounds like it was written for a Christopher Nolan film which bobs along rigorously and impresively but with little connection to what is on screen. When Ferrell brought back Anchorman for a 2, it was to get studio backing for director Adam McKay to make The Big Short. Here the motivation seems to be that after his Walter Mitty film flopped Stiller sat down and realised that his successful Hollywood career hadn't really amounted to much and that Zoolander was actually his career peak. Playing a male model is no way to express your mid life crisis. Next year, Dodgeball 2.