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Trailer: Zoolander 2
Derek and Hansel are back to look really good and fight some bad guys.
There's something melancholic about Hollywood's endless parade of sequels to the hits of yesteryear, reminding us that time has gone by for characters, actors and viewers alike.
Of course, ageing is a particular problem if your vocation is being really, really ridiculously good-looking, like the bird-brained male model played by Ben Stiller in Zoolander, the 2001 spoof that remains Stiller's finest hour.
Stiller recently turned 50, an appropriate moment for taking stock of his odd, bumpy, sometimes brilliant career.
Unlike most Hollywood comics of his generation, he's a "total filmmaker" who functions simultaneously as writer, director and star. Yet it's hard to discern a personal style beneath his knack for parody and pastiche. Given the option, he might prefer not to be a comic in the first place: Zoolander 2 marked a retreat to familiar ground after his dream project, an earnest 2013 remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, failed to set the world on fire.
At the start of the film, the once-celebrated Derek Zoolander is likewise on the back foot, living the life of a "hermit crab" after a string of personal tragedies. However, after a surprise visit from his old friend, Billy Zane (playing himself), he takes off for Rome, where he faces challenges on multiple fronts: relaunching his career, reconciling with his teenage son (Cyrus Arnold) and solving a nonsensical mystery vaguely modelled on The Da Vinci Code, with the aid of his former rival, Hansel (Owen Wilson).
The film has a lot on its plate, especially given its need to replicate just about every memorable moment from its predecessor. The whole enterprise looks rather old-fashioned, underlining how much DNA the original Zoolander shares with the Austin Powers series: the bumbling, narcissist hero, the burlesque thriller plot, and the reliance on cameos and silly outfits.
|Actors||Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penélope Cruz|
Derek and Hansel are modelling again when an opposing company attempts to take them out from the business.
An archetypal vacuous celebrity, Derek might seem well-suited to the era of selfies and omnipresent social media. Yet, as satire, the film is fairly toothless, settling for easy targets (hipsters, Justin Bieber) rather than larger trends in 2015 pop culture. The truth is that Derek and his creator have more than a bit in common: both yearn to be taken seriously but remain concerned first and foremost with fitting in.
Still, there are enough off-beat jokes and gifted performers to ensure a good time. Will Ferrell camps it up as Derek's arch enemy, Mugatu; Penelope Cruz supplies some authentic glamour as an agent in Interpol's fashion division; and Kristen Wiig works her eccentric magic as a wicked beauty expert with a syllable-mangling accent and the look of an alien queen in Doctor Who.
The best addition to the team is Kyle Mooney as hotshot designer Don Atari, who affects a skate-punk manner and pushes ironic enthusiasm to the point where Derek and Hansel can't work out whether to be flattered or insulted. For Stiller, this character, too, may be something of a self-portrait, especially as Don, ultimately, wants the world to know he cares deeply after all.