When a hit movie doesn’t get a sequel for more than 14 years, one is tempted to believe it’s because they were waiting until they came up with a good idea for one. Alas, the idea behind Zoolander 2 seems to have been, “What if we made a sequel?” “And…?” “No, that’s it.” This creaky, stumbling follow-up has dim male models Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) coming out of self-imposed exile to help Interpol's Fashion Division (headed by Penelope Cruz) stop a killer targeting pop stars. The film shows promise early on, with Derek and Hansel discovering how much the fashion world has changed since 2001—SNL’s Kyle Mooney is funny as a grungy, ironic designer who loves awful things, and Benedict Cumberbatch plays an un-gendered model named All—but it soon becomes an aimless series of weak gags predicated on Derek using the wrong words for things. Laughs are scattershot (even Will Ferrell’s Mugatu and Kristen Wiig’s vowel-mangling fashionista can’t save it), and most of the many, many cameos add nothing. They should’ve released this as a quickie cash-grab in 2003 and been done with it.
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