12 – 98mins – 2016
Quote-heavy and gif-friendly in its all-round over-exuberance, 2001’s first Zoolander is considered a modern classic of the Brat Pack comedy era – much like Will “Mugatu” Ferrell’s Anchorman. I can never proclaim to being that enamoured with either if I’m being honest, although both have remained so prescient in the public consciousness that sequels – whether necessary or not – were guaranteed money-makers.
It took co-writer, star and director Ben Stiller some 15 years to resurrect his chique-but-stupid fashion model Derek Zoolander, who has been in icy exile (like a “hermit crab”) since the collapse of his Centre For Kids Who Can’t Read Good, death of his wife (Christine Taylor) and some seriously poor spaghetti-based parenting skills saw Child Protection services take his son, Derek Jr (Cyrus Arnold), into care.
But now a mystery assassin is gunning down the world’s most famous pop stars, all of whom take a “Blue Steel” selfie before they pop their beautiful clogs. Chances are only the creator of the trademark look and his former fashion rival-cum-BFF-cum-rival-again Hansel (Owen Wilson) hold the key to cracking this deadly plot – but can they be trusted to work full-stop, much less undercover and together?! And how will they fit in to a much-changed, androgyny-embracing industry?
Bringing back every successful element from the first film and adding a walk-in wardrobe’s worth more, Zoolander No. 2 is a messy maelstrom of outrageous outfits, flashy visuals, dumb expressions, stupid jokes and more celebrity cameos than your mind can reasonably comprehend. At least the similarly overcrowded Absolutely Fabulous never got to the point where they needed to write the names of the famous people on screen to tip off the audience!
It’s not high art – in fact most of it is as eye-rollingly embarrassing as Kristin Ghostbusters Wiig’s near incomprehensible foreign accent – but the game cast and even-gamer cameoists (Justin Bieber, Kiefer Sutherland and Benedict Cumberbatch in particular don’t mind putting their pride to one side) just about save this from being a stinky No. 2 of a catwalk catastrophe – it’s just a shame so much of it is recycled from last season and should have been left on the hanger.
CR@B’s Claw Score:
12 – 96mins – 2015
THE OTHER GUY
I appreciate he has masterminded some truly iconic characters in the two decades since his SNL breakthrough, but I can take or leave Will Ferrell and quickly tire of his outlandish persona. This is probably why I waited until DVD to take this Daddy, err, home. That, and it was competing with The Force Awakens at the cinema, and I was always going to choose a return to my favourite sci-fi saga over a dom-com starring an actor I’ve never completely warmed to.
Thankfully (for me), as obliging new husband Brad Taggart, Ferrell’s zanier edges are softened in a less eccentric role than Anchorman and Zoolander fans are used to. Attempting to win over the affection of his wife’s (Linda Scooby Doo Cardellini) two children, Brad’s patience runs thin when her louche ex, Dusty (Ferrell’s The Other Guys co-star Mark Wahlberg), wheels back into town and immediately reconciles with his kids.
As Dusty’s impromptu stay is continually extended, his real motivation shines through his captivating bravado – he wants his family back and Brad out of the picture. The scene is set for a ‘duel of the dads’ as Brad tries to overcome his intimidation in macho-man Dusty’s presence, while stemming the wedge which is growing between his family unit.
It’s refreshing to see Wahlberg play such an obnoxious douche, and likewise to see Ferrell reel it in for a more straight man role – even if their temperaments are so obvious they verge on the stereotypical. Reserved though Ferrell may be, that isn’t to say that farcical scenarios don’t arise from this competitive rivalry (Brad casually agreeing to move Dusty’s motorcycle is perhaps the most improbably extravagant), but these are just average joes ambling through day-to-day life.
With the family dynamic shifting in Dusty’s unworthy favour as try-hard softy Brad squanders, Daddy’s Home does successfully rattle your composure, but it isn’t long before you’re laughing again – and I can honestly say that I was surprised at the number of belly laughs this Sean Anders directorial effort elicited out of me – and they saved the biggest for last in a remarkable school disco showdown. Sure it’s a predictable ‘frienemy’ story arc, but this is no dad – sorry, dud!