Friday, February 12, 2016
Zoolander 2 
CNS/USCCB (J. McAleer) review
ChicagoTribune (K. Walsh) review
RogerEbert.com (G. Kenny) review
AVClub (J. Hassenger) review
Zoolander 2  (directed and screenplay cowritten by Ben Stiller along with Justin Theroux, Nicholas Stoller and John Hamburg based on characters by Ben Stiller and Drake Sather) continues the comedic "send-up" of the over the top "arrogance" / narcissism of the "upper reaches" of the high fashion industry of the original Zoolander 
Now it has been 14-15 years since the story's left-off and so early in the film viewers are clued-in to what's happened to the two rather odd, and not exactly super-physically attractive, male supermodels Derek Zoolander (played by Ben Stiller) and his once rival turned BFF Hansel (played by Owen Wilson): Both had turned into recluses of sorts. Why?
Well Zoolander's downward spiral began with a terrible accident at the dedication of his "Institute for Very Attractive People so that they Could Learn to Read and do Other Cool / Important Stuff" in which Zoolander's wife Matilda (played as in the original by Ben Stiller's own wife Christine Taylor) was crushed. Why? Because Zoolander had insisted that the building be made of the same materials -- paper and popsicle sticks ;-) -- its architectural model. Then his / Matilda's son, Derek, Jr, was taken from him because Zoolander proved wildly incapable of properly taking care of him. Seriously, social workers working for DCFS would probably shake their heads laughing (hopefully not with too much recognition ;-) at Zoolander's incompetence here: He didn't even know how to make spaghetti noodles "soft" like mom used to make .. ;-). So Zoolander, depressed, "left civilization" to hole himself up in a "stylish shack" (not exactly "Unibomber"-style) in the "Extreme (and Snowy) Mountains" of the "outer reaches" of ... New Jersey ;-).
Then, Hansel, "disfigured" as a result of the above mentioned collapse of the above mentioned "Zoolander Institute," retired -- along with his 10-15 member "orgy" (Parents take note...) ensemble which included a cute little gold-helmeted Cherub-like midget, an African American super-model dressed as a Warrior Princess and, for some reason ... Keifer Sutherland ;-) --- to the "Dunes" of an "uncharted Malibu beach" ;-) --
The two are "called back" to "the world" by separate "hologram messages" (a la the message sent by Princess Leia in Star Wars IV: A New Hope ) sent here by a really _ugly_ (err ... "exotic") fashion guru named Alexanya Atoz (played by Kristin Wiig doing a play on her previous SNL "Donatella Versace" impression ;-). She asks both of them, separately to come, for reasons unspecified but extremely "urgent", to Rome. For reasons not particularly clear -- both had been recluses for nearly 15 years -- both agree to do so.
That proves to be a good decision as Agent Valentina (played by Penélope Cruz) of Interpol's "Fashion Division" had been looking for at least Zoolander but had not been able to find him -- even though fashion guru Alexanya (and even Netflix ;-) ... have been able to find both ;-). Agent Valentina, a "former swimsuit model turned police detective" (a little disgruntled because her boobs proved "just too big" for her to "successfully transition to runway modelling" sigh ... "the sufferings" we bear ;-), had been looking for him because of a string of murders of "Pop icons" including, in the film's initial sequence, of Justin Bieber.
All of these Pop Icons had mysteriously "Instagrammed" final pictures of themselves, just before they died, "sporting a trademark look" of Zoolander's. She thought the look was that of "Cold Steel" but he quickly corrects her when they meet, saying, "Sigh <eyes rolling>, it's actually my look from 'Aqua Vitae.'"
That all these famous "Pop Icons" were dying sporting Zoolander's "Aqua Vitae" look, and ALL the main characters in the story now find themselves IN ROME, sends the story amusingly in a Dan Brown a la Da Vinci Code  / Angels and Demons  direction ;-) ... with also a nod to The Silence of the Lambs  ... in order to get the "Evil Designer" Mogatu (played by Will Farrell) from the first Zoolander film out of "Fashion Prison" ;-).
What ensues is really, really stupid ;-) ... funny, stupid ;-)
Parents, I would certainly say that the film would not be for the littlest of kids. But there is no nudity, no real violence, just A LOT of high fashion, stupid, sexual innuendo that is _so over the top_ that it's obvious that it's to be taken as a joke (and NOT like anyone would want it to be):
Consider simply that when Hansel and Zoolander find Zoolander's long lost son, now tweenage and "chubby" Derek, Jr (played by Cyrus Arnold, Jr), Hansel _realizes_ that ALL he's ever done with Zoolander before involved one-or-another random / group sexual encounter, and so he _repeatedly_ has to stop himself as he tries to tell Derek, Jr something about his father's and even his mother's past. At the end, he realizes that he doesn't have anything _appropriate_ to tell Derek, Jr at all ;-).
HOPEFULLY, we're BETTER THAN THAT ... ;-)
So this is just one "really out there" / "dumb" comedy that probably hits the edges of PG-13 / R.
It's certainly _not pretty_ (even though it's about "high fashion" ;-) but it certainly is (often) very, very funny ;-)
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