Zoolander 2, like many a garbage sequel, was destined to spiral into the abyss of bad movies whose reviews are much more entertaining than the movie itself, the type that allows critics to bathe in the pettiest of metaphors.

In short, there’s no need to waste money on this. As usual, critics are finding the grandest ways to say as much. With a headline that surmises, “Zoolander 2 is a very bad look,” USA Today dubs it a “wholly unnecessary sequel” weakened by “tired in-jokes, a strangely mean-spirited family subplot and a parade of forgettable cameos by A-list celebrities.”

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The finest of these bad reviews, naturally, comes from The New York Times, where critic Stephen Holden goes beyond the call of duty to annihilate the movie’s star Ben Stiller, describing him as “a perfect case study in male insecurity”:

Depending on the role, the camera angle, the costume, and the hair and makeup, Mr. Stiller, 50, swings between polarities of trollishness and desirability. In some movies, he appears dwarfish and deformed with a head that’s too big for his body and empty space-alien eyes. He is of average height but looks shorter. And when bulked up, he appears hunched and musclebound. But when he fixes those baby blues on the camera and thrusts out his jaw to accentuate his cheekbones, he can pass as handsome: just barely.

Damn, son. Holden concludes:

The tepid satire is undercut by cameo appearances by fashion giants like Valentino, Marc Jacobs, Anna Wintour and Tommy Hilfiger. Because they are in on the joke, their very presence robs the movie of any remaining edge.

Elsewhere, Variety pegs Zoolander 2 as “a disappointment-slash-misfire, the orange mocha crappuccino of movie sequels” that’s “toothless and scattershot”:

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Really, the dumb thing about “Zoolander 2” is that it isn’t nearly dumb enough: Rather than coasting along on a stream of blissful comic idiocy, it cobbles together a busy skein of twists and complications, as if the mental strain of following along might distract us from how crushingly unfunny it is.

The Hollywood Reporter agrees, writing that the film “drowns its svelte skeleton in acres of fussy couture,” which is beautiful phrasing about something that’s crap. It continues:

The bigger issue, however, is that not one of the patchy sequel’s threads really holds together, even within the elastic boundaries of farce.

...from the wrangling of top-tier fashionistas to the Star Wars-inspired revelation of Hansel’s origins, the climactic action smacks more of try-anything desperation than cleverness...

Entertainment Weekly, in a review with a C- rating, calls the sequel “embarrassing, lazy, and aggressively unfunny”:

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...it’s been so long since we first met Stiller and Owen Wilson’s dim-and-dimmer narcissists Derek and Hansel that a sequel—or at least this sequel—feels sad and desperate, like a comic who doesn’t know when to get off stage. The flop sweat drips from the opening scene, where a labored Justin Bieber gag barely elicits a chuckle but provides the film with its lazy plot trigger: Who’s killing the world’s biggest pop stars? It’s all downhill from there as Stiller and co-writers Justin Theroux, John Hamburg, and Nicholas Stoller flail at the lowest-hanging pop culture fruit.

Slash film has the headline: “‘Zoolander 2’ Is As Stupid and Out of Touch as Derek Zoolander Himself,” but stops short of calling it the worst movie ever:

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...Zoolander 2 represents the worst-case scenario. Not because Zoolander 2 is the worst movie ever made — it isn’t — but because it’s what we fear every time one of these projects gets announced: a joyless cash-grab more interested in rehashing old ideas than building on them.

Zoolander 2 is insufferable, we can all agree. From the Charlotte Observer (which considers it “a hot mess”):

The paper thin plot feels rushed and harried, because it stops every two minutes to make room for random notable names to mug for the camera. To make all of these cameos that much worse, each celebrity says or does something that refers to their career or notoriety, aggressively wink-wink, nudge-nudging any potential humor into oblivion.

Even in the U.K.:

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Unfortunately, when it comes to intellect and wit, Zoolander No. 2 doesn’t have a pair of functioning brain cells to rub together.

Feebly, Associated Press tried to find some nice words:

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That’s not to say that there aren’t moments when you’ll laugh out loud, especially when your favorite celebrity or designer appears for a cameo (is there anyone Stiller COULDN’T get to appear in his film?)

But not for long:

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But eventually you’ll start to feel like your smile is sort of freezing on your face (Botox or no Botox); in your heart, you’ve just stopped laughing.

This movie stinks.


Contact the author at clover@jezebel.com.

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