Kaitlyn Booth

Review: Zoolander 2 Is Mean Spirited And Lazy

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Title: Zoolander 2
Director: Ben Stiller
Screenwriter: Justin Theroux (written by), Ben Stiller (written by and character Derek Zoolander), Nicholas Stoller (written by), John Hamburg (written by), and Drake Sather (character Derek Zoolander)
Principal Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penelope Cruz, and Kristen Wiig
Summary: Derek and Hansel are modeling again when an opposing company attempts to take them out of the business.

The first Zoolander movie is one of those weird cult classics that a lot of people have seen and probably watch often but no one really remembered it before streaming. I feel like Zoolander would have fallen by the wayside were it not for services like Netflix. I remember liking the first one when I saw it years and years ago but I can’t remember much about the specific jokes aside from the “orange mocha frappachino” joke and the gas station fight. There have been some success with the way later sequels, but I feel like a mid tier Ben Stiller comedy isn’t a movie that needed a sequel.

Zoolander 2 might have a few laughs here and there but they all seemed to come across as very mean spirited.


I feel like the joke that really pushed me over the edge is going to be something that people give me a hard time over and tell me I’m “being too sensitive”. The thing is, you don’t get to dictate what someone else does or does not find offensive. If I find a joke in Zoolander 2 offensive and decide that I don’t want to give it my money then that is my choice. The joke in question involves a character called All played by Benedict Cumberbatch. The name is a joke because the character is either trans or a hermaphrodite (it’s unclear which one) and the movie decided to rehash the most tired of the stereotypes. They say All married “themself” because “they’re both” and does the “ha ha it’s funny because we can’t tell if All’s a boy or a girl that’s gross ha ha”; that just doesn’t work in this day and age. There is a difference between laughing at someone and laughing with them.

The script also seemed to have a few too many fat jokes. This is a movie about the fashion industry which can be completely ridiculous and the best they could come up with were more fat jokes? I’m going to set aside the fact that eating disorders are an epidemic in that industry and just focus on how lazy it is. In fact, that is the best way to describe this movie; lazy. If the movie isn’t pointing out how long it has been since the first one in an attempt of a meta joke it’s taking the easiest route for every joke. I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t laugh at some of them, but most of them were the throw away jokes or the various cameos that celebrities make throughout the production.

If it sounds like I’m angry at Zoolander 2 the truth is that it’s really just forgettable. There isn’t a single joke that we haven’t seen either in the original or somewhere else. While I thought the jokes were formed out of, at best, ignorance and, at worst, bigotry it wasn’t enough to make me get all riled up with righteous indignation. I saw the movie less than twenty four hours ago and the only things I really remember, aside from the transphobic stuff, was that they kept making male pregnancy jokes which I couldn’t wrap my head around.

Zoolander 2 made me want to rewatch the first one but only because I was curious if it was as mean spirited as the first. In a weekend that has Deadpool also coming out I find it odd that, of the two, I found Zoolander 2 to be the more offensive of the two movies. I’d recommend you stay home and watch the original if you’re so inclined; otherwise, skip it.

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