With all the buzz and build up, the spoof campaigns and product spin-offs, the celebrity endorsements and mega press tour that took Ben Stiller in a personalized Zoolander jet from Australia to New York (via London), it was easy to forget there was an actual Zoolander film behind the great tsunami of hype.
But last night we were finally treated to a preview of the movie itself.
The gloriously silly follow-up begins fifteen years after Zoolander and Hansel’s 2001 outing. The intervening years have not been kind. Derek has lost his wife Matilda in an accident which saw his Center For Kids That Can’t Read Good collapse into the Hudson river, he’s also lost custody of his son and retired from fashion.
Hansel, his face ‘horrifically’ disfigured in the accident, has also retreated to a hippy commune in California, where he’s living in a multi-way relationship with a group that includes a Maori warrior, an owl and Kiefer Sutherland.
Zoolander and Hansel are coaxed out of hiding when an invitation from fashion matriarch Alexandya Atoz (played hilariously by a heavily implanted Kristen Wiig) arrives inviting them to Rome to walk in a show by hot new designer Don Atari, where Derek hopes he can prove he’s a competent father again by reigniting his career and finding his son.
We don’t need to tell you that the plot is not the key component here. The array of celebrity cameos is - however - dizzyingly long, so long that it would almost be easier to name who’s not in it, with appearances from Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Susan Sarandon, Macaulay Culkin, Kate Moss and Susan Boyle.
Zoolander’s massive send-up of the fashion world also hasn’t stopped some of the biggest fashion designers on the planet getting in on the act, with a particularly brilliant final showdown that sees Valentino, Marc Jacobs (who Stiller takes a swipe at by calling ‘Marc by Marc’) and Alexander Wang partake in a gruesome ritual with the promise of eternal youth.
The script, written by Justin Theroux (Mr Jennifer Aniston), is packed with some perfect Zoolander-isms. Derek has gone away to be a ‘hermit crab’ and doesn’t want to walk in the show and be a ‘laughing stick.’ And the plot is, of course, absurdly silly.
A few minor complaints: the film may have slightly overcooked the pudding on the celebrity cameo front, with the conveyor belt of A-listers at times making it feel a bit stop-start. We’d also have liked to have seen a little more of the ever wonderful Kristen Wiig, who had us in fits as Alexanya Atoz.
But ultimately if you loved Zoolander 1 then Zoolander 2 is just as likely to tickle, and after the January rush of heavy award season movies it’s also the perfect light relief.
Zoolander 2 is in UK cinemas from Friday 12th February