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dir Ben Stiller
scr Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Nicholas Stoller, John Hamburg
prd Stuart Cornfeld, Scott Rudin, Ben Stiller, Clayton Townsend
with Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Cyrus Arnold, Sting, Benedict Cumberbatch, Billy Zane, Nathan Lee Graham, Justin Theroux, Christine Taylor, Justin Bieber, Keifer Sutherland, Susan Sarandon, Anna Wintour
release US/UK 12.Feb.16
16/US Paramount 1h42
Too curvy to be a model: Wilson, Stiller and Cruz
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Ben Stiller's most memorable creation returns to the big screen after nearly 15 years in an epic adventure patterned after blockbuster Euro-thrillers like The Da Vinci Code. It's big and silly, packed with corny jokes and stupid set-pieces, some of which are genuinely hilarious. And like the first film, there's that nagging feeling that it's not quite funny enough.
After tragedy struck in 2001, fabulous supermodels Derek (Stiller) and Hansel (Wilson) retired to isolation of New Jersey and Malibu, respectively, but both have now been summoned by designer Atoz (Wiig) to appear at her show in Rome. There they meet Interpol agent Valentina (Cruz), who is investigating a series of popstar murders apparently linked to Derek's career. Together they track down Derek's old nemesis Mugatu (Ferrell) and uncover a shadowy conspiracy involving the fountain of youth. Meanwhile, Derek is trying to reconnect with his long-lost son (Arnold).
Relentlessly stupid, but with the occasional flash of genuine wit, the film rockets through the plot in a blur of sexual innuendo, awkward action set-pieces, surprisingly strong violence and so many jokes that something has to stick. Much of this centres on Derek's cluelessness, especially as he fails to grasp how the world has changed in the past 15 years. And there's further comical possibility since each scene is populated with big-name cameos, often playing ludicrous versions of themselves.
Perhaps a third of the jokes fall flat, but the film rides effortlessly on Stiller's charm. He somehow manages to make Derek so endearing that even his goofy emotional odyssey feels sweetly touching. Stiller's chemistry with Wilson is terrific, and they generously let Ferrell and Wiig shamelessly chomp on the scenery, while Cruz milks her curvy love-interest role for all it's worth, and then some. Of the cameos, Cumberbatch is probably the funniest, and Sting has the most gag-packed dialog.
More polished than the original, this sequel maintains the same level of clumsiness in the script, mixing sophisticated jabs (models are like popstars without the brains or talent) with absurd gags that seem written by a 4-year-old. And while there's only a half-hearted attempt to add some political edge to the story, there's a clunky scene near the end involving a handful of actual designers that feels almost jarringly telling: as if they didn't realise that the movie is actually making fun of them.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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