Zoolander was never a great movie but it is beloved. Released in 2001, and roundly ignored at the box office, it was an uneven ragtag of sketches that barely constituted a plot, but within it were enough quotable lines and clever jokes about the ridiculousness of the male model’s lot that it gained a second life on DVD. It’s now been 15 years, about the average age of your beginner catwalk model, and Zoolander’s ready for another strut. A sequel never seemed necessary but fashion isn’t about necessity, it’s about spending lots of money on frivolity.
To justify the sequel, Ben Stiller, who stars, directs and writes, has conjured something every bit as daft as the last film’s plot to assassinate the Malaysian president with fashion. The world’s best-looking popstars are being murdered. We open with Justin Bieber being chased through Rome and then, in a moment destined to be GIF-ed for eternity, shot to bits in front of Sting’s house. For reasons that will later become almost clear, the only person who can stop all this is former model Derek Zoolander (Stiller), currently in hiding following the death of his wife. He is tempted over to Rome, as is his old friend Hans (Owen Wilson) for less clear reasons, and they help a sexy Interpol agent (Penelope Cruz) uncover a fashion conspiracy. Honestly, it all sort of makes sense at the time.
Like the first film, Zoolander 2’s jokes are hit-and-miss, although this time it relies less on well-written lines and more on famous people dropping in for a few seconds. These cameos are funny when the star is cast against type, like squeaky-clean popstrel Ariana Grande popping up as an orgy participant in a gimp mask, but less so when it’s just a famous flung on the screen without reason, like Joe Jonas having a bit of a sit down.
It’s fun and throwaway and very much in the spirit of its predecessor. Unlike most fashions, if you’re old enough to remember it from first time around then you’ll probably want to give it another whirl.