'Zoolander No. 2' is an absurd tribute to original

Film: “Zoolander No. 2”

Release Date: Feb. 12

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Grade: C

Just when it seemed that Derek and Hansel couldn’t get any more ridiculous, “Zoolander No. 2” proved otherwise.

“Zoolander” fans have been anticipating a sequel since last March, when stars Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson made an appearance at Paris Fashion Week to announce the follow-up to the 2001 comedy, which debuted in theaters Feb. 12.

While the sequel’s plot was a departure from the first, the storyline took a backseat to more of the same brand of absurd humor that made the first film a hit.

Picking up more than a decade after the events of the first film, male fashion icons Derek Zoolander (Stiller) and Hansel McDonald (Wilson) have been retired from the limelight for years.

When high profile celebrities turn up murdered, Zoolander and McDonald are drawn from retirement to help get to the bottom of a spree of murders targeting the beautiful and famous.

From a slew of surprise celebrity appearances to Will Ferrell’s same old, crazy hair, “Zoolander No. 2” packed a lot of pop culture appeal and initially promised to be a worthy successor to the first film.

Drawing from the same brand of humor as their predecessors, “Zoolander No. 2” may have over done it just a little bit. Joke after joke, the movie continued to play the same notes as the first one.

It was almost exhausting to watch.

From Stiller’s first lines, Derek Zoolander’s stupidity surpasses even that of the first film. Unfortunately, Stiller’s portrayal of a model past his prime fails to deliver like the first film.

Scene after scene, “Zoolander No. 2” bore ample resemblance to its precursor. Time and time again, audiences were given glimpse to many of the scenes from the first “Zoolander” in the second.

When Derek becomes a half-man, half-cow for a commercial, we are reminded of the classic merman scene from the first film in which Stiller’s character declares that “water is the essence of wetness and wetness is the essence of beauty.”

Owen Wilson’s portrayal of Derek’s fellow model Hansel followed the same trend when audiences were reintroduced to Hansel as a desert-dweller twisted into an implausible yoga pose.

Bits of the original soundtrack are rehashed when Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” and “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood are reprised throughout the film.

The parallels between the sequel and the original were riddled throughout the movie, leaving audiences unsure whether this was a genuine sequel or a celebration of the first film, a commemoration of when the world was introduced to the “greatest male model of all time.”

“Zoolander No. 2” comes up short on original jokes and memorable scenes, but it does well as homage to the creativity that was the original “Zoolander,” a final look back on “blue steel.”

Evan Grisley is an arts staff writer and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com