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Zoolander 2 (DQ)

4/10

Stars: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, PenÚlope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Fred Armisen, Kyle Mooney, Milla Jovovich, Christine Taylor, Justin Theroux, Billy Zane, Jon Daly, Sting, Benedict Cumberbatch, Katy Perry, Christina Hendricks, John Malkovich, Kate Moss, Cyrus Arnold, Kiefer Sutherland, Justin Bieber, Macaulay Culkin

Director: Ben Stiller

This follow-up to the iconic 2001 satire on the fashion industry has a nicely nutty idea, a funny first five minutes and an hilarious last five. In between comes a messy romp with a few chuckles but missed opportunities by the fistful, with all concerned trying far too hard.

Stiller, who also directed, co-produced and co-scripted, is again the once-top male model Derek Zoolander. Since the literal collapse of his pet building project, the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good, which crushed his wife (Taylor, Stiller's real-life spouse), he has become a 'hermit crab' in 'remote North New Jersey', which seems to closely resemble Tibet.

This bit is a hoot, with Stiller submerged beneath silver-streaked whiskers, but all too soon he's reunited with his old modelling rival Hansel (Wilson) and the pair of them go on a quest to find Derek's long-lost son (Arnold). The distinctly unattractive Zoolander Jr also appears to be 'The Chosen One', hotly pursued by arch-villain Will Ferrell - wincingly awful, even if his swopping places with the clueless Zoolander in the depths of a 'maximum security fashion prison' is quite a laugh.

There is, however, also a lot of camera-staring with boring dialogue by the stars in between, plus appearances by Cumberbatch (as the androgynous model All) and Sutherland (as himself) that embarrass both themselves and us: neither can play comedy.

There are so many guest stars, in fact, that it's impossible to keep up, not even by scanning the credits at the end. A couple of crass jokes at the expense of Cruz - as the ace agent for Interpol (fashion division) - complete a gaudy comedy package that largely flatters to deceive.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by deluxe.
100 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 12 Feb 2016