ZOOLANDER AND ZOOLANDER 2- A HIGH-FASHION DOUBLE REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
ZOOLANDER. 2001. DIRECTED BY BEN STILLER. STARRING BEN STILLER, OWEN WILSON AND WILL FERRELL.
ZOOLANDER 2 (OR ‘2LANDER’). 2016. DIRECTED BY BEN STILLER. STARRING BEN STILLER, OWEN WILSON, WILL FERRELL , BILLY ZANE AND PENELOPE CRUZ.
These two American satirical comedy films about the fashion industry are the height of silliness at times, but I got a good few laughs out of each so I like them. The two movies tell the story of Derek Zoolander and his friend and one-time rival Hansel, the two most dim-witted male fashion models ever to grace a catwalk.
In the first film, Derek has been conditioned/brainwashed into killing the Malaysian Prime Minister by Will Ferrell’s evil fashion mogul Jacobim Mugatu. For what reason, I hear you ask? Well, it’s because the Prime Minister is all for abolishing child labour and the fashion industry, clearly, is none too happy about the prospect.
Ben Stiller hams it up magnificently as Derek Zoolander, the top model famous for his ‘duckfaces’ to camera. These God-awful gurns and grimaces are known as ‘Blue Steel’ and ‘Magnum’ and they can stop a Chinese throwing star dead in its tracks, if you can believe that. Owen Wilson is well-suited also to playing the hippy-dippy ‘I need to find myself’ Hansel. Check out his ‘shattered’ face in ZOOLANDER 2. You’ll wet yourself laughing.
The fun of both ZOOLANDERs is that you get to play ‘Spot The Celebrity.’ Starring in the first one are the late great David Bowie, Paris Hilton, Donald Trump, Karl Lagerfeld, Claudia Schiffer and Donatella Versace, among others. Many others, in fact.
The second film actually starts with Justin Bieber, who does a great job of playing himself. He’s on the run from a mysterious assassin who riddles him with bullets before leaving him for dead outside Sting’s house. Yes, that Sting. How many other Stings do you know? Anyway, the Biebster just barely has time to take a ‘duckface’ selfie and post it to social media before he breathes his last.
For those of you who cheered (or even just quietly celebrated) during that scene, I want to say that I don’t get all this Bieber-bashing. He’s a good-looking young fella who got incredibly rich through his singing at a young age. He’s got a couple of singles out at the moment that I think are exceptionally catchy, SORRY and LOVE YOURSELF. The people who slag him off have got to be jealous. Why else would they do it? Leave the guy alone and go find real things to moan about, haha. I’ll gladly share out some of my problems if there aren’t enough to go round…!
I think I prefer ZOOLANDER 2 to the first film. In it, we’ve got Derek Zoolander and Hansel being tempted out of modelling retirement by a ruggedly handsome Billy Zane, surely one of the best-looking men on the planet. He’s come a long way since TITANIC. Phwoooooar…!
Hansel is looking to escape the responsibilities of fatherhood with his ‘orgy’ of sex slaves. Derek wants Social Services to give him back his son Derek Jr., the kid he had with Matilda, the journalist from the first film who’s currently dead. He thinks that steady modelling work will make him a better prospect as a father. Well, it’s not the Civil Service, but okay…!
Derek Jr. hates his Pop’s guts, however, and winning back the kid’s affections won’t be easy. The other fly in Derek’s ointment is Jacobim Mugatu, who’s escaped from Fashion Prison where he’s been since the end of the first film. (The Malaysian Prime Minister thing, remember?) He’s planning to kill Derek Jr. (KKK ‘Fatlander…!’) and drink his blood because he’s claiming it’ll give him eternal youth. Don’t ask. Can Zoolander save his son from the clutches of the poodle-haired one? The climax of the film descends into complete and utter silliness, but sure it’s all good clean ridiculous fun.
Benedict Cumberbatch is absolutely brilliant as the terrifying transgender model All. I think his was the best performance of the whole thing, even though he was barely on-screen for two minutes. Sting as a monk and Kiefer Sutherland as Owen Wilson’s Baby-Momma (yes, you read that correctly!) have possibly the two silliest roles in a movie ever here. Are they funny in it? I guess, but I was really more laughing at them than with them, if you know what I mean.
Penelope Cruz is stunningly gorgeous as always as the oh-so-originally named Valentina Valencia, the sexy representative of the Fashion Police (literally!) who needs Derek’s and Hansel’s help to uncover why so many of the world’s famous popstars are being assassinated, leaving behind only ‘duckface’ selfies. I don’t think we ever do find out, do we? Never mind. La Cruz’s waspish waist and purdy tiddies are eye-popping in that tight black basque and her ‘sexy fighting’ scene with Milla Jojovich is hilarious.
A load of other celebrities have cameos in the film, including Katy Perry, Skrillex, Susan Boyle, John Malkovich, Demi Lovato, Bruce Springsteen, Usher, MC Hammer, Anna Wintour (the super-stylish editor of VOGUE), Tommy Hilfiger, Ariana Grande, Lewis Hamilton, Mika and a few others. If it’s celeb-spotting you’re after, you’ll have good fun with ZOOLANDER 2.
Although I confess I’m not really sure who she is, Kristen Wiig does a great job as the mutton-dressed-as-God-knows-what Alexanya Atoz, the mad auld one who mispronounces everything in her sexy foreign accent and calls the Fountain Of Youth the Fountain Of ‘Yowth.’
Overall, I do really like these two films, which have the odd little sharp bite in them even though I guess they’re not meant to be taken too seriously. If you watch them and you’re just looking for a bit of a laugh, you’ll probably enjoy the hell out of ’em. Don’t actually tell anyone you liked them, though, obviously. After all, you don’t want to be a laughing-stick…!
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can contact her at: