Still(er) on trend?
Fifteen years after Derek Zoolander drunk an Orange Mocha Frappuccino, gave himself a wedgie in a walk-off and stopped a Chinese throwing star with one look, Ben Stiller’s really, really good-looking male model is back.
Where has he been? In hiding, it seems, after his Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good collapsed, killing wife Matilda, injuring his model mate Hansel (Owen Wilson) and leading to Derek Jr. (Cyrus Arnold) being taken into care.
When fashion’s new queen, Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig), entices him to Rome for her catwalk extravaganza, Derek sees it as an opportunity to get his son back. There's a reunion with Hansel, but these two fashion fools soon realise the industry has moved on, and is now run by incoherent hipsters, like Alexanya’s chief designer Don Atari (Kyle Mooney, hilarious). Trying to make amends with his overweight offspring, Derek's left gazing in a puddle asking, ‘Who am I?’
There’s more plot here than the original Zoolander (2001), much of it involving Valentina (Penélope Cruz), an agent for Interpol’s Global Fashion Police, embroiling Derek and Hansel in the hunt for a killer who's gunning down pop stars. But, sadly, the script lacks the earlier film’s novelty.
Maybe it’s a comment on the way the fashion industry recycles old ideas, but the same catchphrases, music cues and characters are dug out, often to lesser effect – notably when Wham’s ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ gets a second airing.
There are cameos aplenty – from Sting to Valentino to Benedict Cumberbatch – and Wiig has a ball, mispronouncing every line as she literally floats around in a costume that makes her look like a giant Quality Street. But the film only really gets going when Derek’s nemesis Jacobi Mugatu (Will Ferrell) turns up.
Ferrell is always at his best playing outlandish, and he steals every scene he’s in, spouting some magnificent gobbledegook (“I’m the mamma bejamba!”). A Mugatu spin-off? Now that’s an idea...