‘Zoolander’ fans can breathe a flamboyant sigh of relief: 15 years on, this sequel to the fashion-world satire is as funny, silly and lovingly teasing as anyone could have hoped. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson return as dopey male models Derek Zoolander and Hansel, who are recalled to the world of haute couture after a string of murdered celebrities mysteriously use their last breaths to take ‘Blue Steel’ selfies – mimicking Derek’s famous catwalk pose. It’s the start of an increasingly lunatic Bond-meets-Blahnik adventure that leads them back into the hands of Will Ferrell’s fashion-designer-cum-evil-villain Mugatu. Penelope Cruz gets into the ‘Zoolander’ spirit as a detective from the fashion police and Kristen Wiig gives good Botox face (and voice) as a fashion magnate. The cameos come thick and fast (Vogue ice queen Anna Wintour has a speaking part; actress-singer Ariana Grande appears in an orgy scene) and they mostly add to the film’s story rather than making it feel like a string of SNL sketches.
The details don’t always make sense, but chaos is part of the ‘Zoolander’ experience. The humour is nearly always on trend: Netflix and Uber get a nod and Mugatu teases Tommy Hilfiger with a very 2016 burn: ‘The new Hilfiger collection, brought to you by white privilege.’ Attempts at zeitgeist comedy don’t always pay off: while Benedict Cumberbatch’s appearance as All, an androgynous model, is not as problematic as the trailer hinted (the joke is definitely on Derek and Hansel's bigotry and not All’s gender), it still feels uncomfortable. Some later scenes fall flat as a series of last-minute twists dampen the high-energy of all that comes before, but mostly, ‘Zoolander 2’ hits the mark with style. Just don’t expect anything too deep.