Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Zoolander 2

Year 8, Day 312 - 11/7/16 - Movie #2,482

BEFORE: As I mentioned, this movie was not originally part of my plan for November, it's only been on the watchlist for a few weeks, but since I had to rearrange my chain, I was able to come up with another path to get to my Veterans Day film, and Will Ferrell leads to Mark Wahlberg, in a way that will be obvious in just a few days.  So I'm dropping in 3 films with Ferrell as something of an "October Surprise", in a place where two Peter Pan-themed films were, which makes up for the fact that I had to drop another film from the list that didn't link at all.  

Tonight's link is CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour, carrying over from "The Pink Panther 2", and this film also features quite a few other famous newscasters, who are people we'll be seeing a lot of tomorrow during election coverage.  See, I knew I could find a way to link this all in somehow. 

FOLLOW-UP TO: "Zoolander" (Movie #523)

THE PLOT: Derek and Hansel are lured into modeling again, in Rome, where they find themselves the target of a sinister conspiracy.

AFTER: I went back and read my review of "Zoolander", which I watched in June 2010 - I gave that a "4" and said there were a few funny moments, but it wasn't a laugh riot.  Yeah, this one's just about the same.  Like the recent "Pink Panther" films, everything seems to be based on one simple premise - "Clouseau is clumsy" or "male models are dumb".  At least in the first film male models were used as mindless assassins, in sort of "Manchurian Candidate" way, but making them stand-ins for spies, without having them carrying out any type of defined mission, becomes sort of formless humor.

No lie, one character here literally works for the "Fashion Police", and there's also a prison for fashion's worst offenders.  The plot is basically nonsense - and then more nonsensical things are piled on top of that, in some kind of fallacy that states if you can pack in enough nonsense, the overall movie will come out and make sense on the other side, and it just isn't so.

I will give credit, however, for putting a spin on the plot of "The Da Vinci Code", with the possibility that a certain person is secretly the descendant of a famous Biblical figure (no, not that one) and that a secret society exists to keep that bloodline secret and safe.  Someone did have to be clever to come up with something this stupid, if that makes any sense.  There are also jabs at the "Silence of the Lambs" films, with Mugatu imprisoned in a very Hannibal Lecter-like fashion, which I was able to recognize from watching "Red Dragon" recently.

But it's hard to get a handle on what the point of the film is, other than "male models are dumb".  Is it about trying to remain relevant in an ever-changing world?  The difficulty that celebrities have in maintaining relationships and raising normal children?  Friendship triumphing over evil?  No, I think it's just "male models are dumb" - to draw any other conclusion feels like I'm giving the movie too much credit.

It seems odd, however, that a film in this day and age would engage in its own version of fat-shaming, and also to have a character who is androgynous, and to show the male models being creeped out by that.  Modeling in general, with a couple of exceptions perhaps, does focus on what is allegedly "beautiful", but shouldn't we be aiming to get beyond that?  The dark side of calling these people attractive is that it reinforces the opposite, that the people who are NOT models are less beautiful, and therefore this film becomes part of the problem.  Right?  OK, so Derek Zoolander eventually accepts his overweight son as "plus-size", but that's barely a step in the right direction.  Modeling and acting still put much too much emphasis on beauty, and this just highlights all that. 

Also starring Ben Stiller (last seen in "The Trip"), Owen Wilson (last seen in "Around the World in 80 Days"), Will Ferrell (last heard in "The Lego Movie"), Penelope Cruz (last seen in "The Counsellor"), Justin Theroux (last seen in "Mulholland Drive"), Kristen Wiig (last seen in "Ghostbusters"), Milla Jovovich (last seen in "The Claim"), Jon Daly (last seen in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"), Christine Taylor (last seen in "A Very Brady Sequel"), Billy Zane, Kiefer Sutherland (last seen in "The Lost Boys"), Kyle Mooney, Fred Armisen (last heard in "The Smurfs 2"), Benedict Cumberbatch (last seen in "12 Years a Slave"), Sting (last seen in "Quadrophenia"), Cyrus Arnold, Nathan Lee Graham (last seen in "Hitch"), with cameos from Justin Bieber, Jerry Stiller (last heard in "Planes: Fire & Rescue"), Katie Couric, Jane Pauley, Joe Scarborough, Soledad O'Brien, Matt Lauer, Susan Boyle, Joe Jonas, Olivia Munn (last seen in "X-Men: Apocalypse"), Skrillex, Naomi Campbell, Willie Nelson (last seen in "The Electric Horseman"), Katy Perry (also last heard in "The Smurfs 2"), Neil deGrasse Tyson (last seen in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"), Alexander Skarsgard, John Malkovich (last seen in "Rounders"), Susan Sarandon (last seen in "Alfie"), M.C. Hammer, Anna Wintour, Kate Moss, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, Johnny Weir, Lenny Kravitz (last seen in "The Butler"), Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Christina Hendricks, Andy Dick. 

RATING: 4 out of 10 selfies

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