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terça-feira, 16 de fevereiro de 2016

Zoolander 2 review: 'pleasingly ridiculous'

Ben Stiller's moronic male model gets a fitting swan song in this celebrity-cameo-filled sequel
Fashion, like Wall Street, seems immune to critique or satire. Both industries gleefully co-opt the ridicule aimed their way – so traders quote Gordon Gekko without irony and big-name designers queue up to appear in this, the scrappy, chaotic and pleasingly ridiculous sequel to a fashion-skewering comedy favourite. 
Ben Stiller’s Zoolander first appeared in a skit at the VH1 Fashion Awards 20 years ago, before a big-screen debut that hit US cinemas within three weeks of the 9/11 attacks, when no one wanted anything so breezily brainless.
This belated sequel picks up the threads when the original’s happy ending for moronic male model Derek Zoolander (Stiller, who also directs) is a distant memory. Zoolander has been widowed and stripped of custody of his son, Derek Jr (Cyrus Arnold). He's offered a catwalk comeback in Rome, a gig that could re-establish his fortunes and help him to reunite with his son. It also places the film amid the ridiculously good-looking sights of the Eternal City, in the same heady air that sustained La Dolce Vita – though Fellini didn’t feature Valentino’s flagship store quite so prominently. 
Meanwhile, Derek’s former rival, hippy-cool model Hansel (Owen Wilson), is also lured to the show – but a rude awakening awaits them both. Worse, the intellectually-challenged pair soon cross paths with Penélope Cruz’s Interpol agent Valentina, who is convinced that Zoolander may hold the key to a series of celebrity murders.

Penélope Cruz in Zoolander 2
Penélope Cruz in Zoolander 2Credit: Paramount Pictures/Wilson Webb
None of that really matters, of course, because the plot only ever existed as a sort of clothes rack for the jokes. These are laid on as thickly as Derek’s hair gel, so manage to sustain laughter even as a considerable percentage misfire. Once again, Hansel’s hipster lifestyle and Derek’s pretensions clash effectively, and Will Ferrell’s returning industry mogul Mugatu provides absurd menace. There is a largely unsuccessful commentary on the changes in fashion since Derek’s retirement, including the controversy-baiting but ultimately minor role of Benedict Cumberbatch as trans model All.

Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell  in Zoolander 2
Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell in Zoolander 2Credit: Paramount Pictures/Wilson Webb
An impressive battalion of celebrity cameos range from the satisfying (teen singer Justin Bieber, brought in and killed spectacularly) to the delightful (Kiefer Sutherland) to the irrelevant (Olivia Munn). But even compared to the first film, women are sidelined while the guys hog the funniest lines – Cruz’s best joke involves her bosom – and Stiller, as director, has a tendency to pause for laughs that don’t come. 
Still, it’s fun to see Zoolander once more. It seems unlikely that the premise could ever sustain a third film, but if this is Derek’s swan song then he leaves amid a flurry of feathers and bustle – surely all a male model could wish for. 

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