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Celebrity-Filled Zoolander 2 Models Questionable Humor

  • Susan Ellingburg Contributing Writer
  • 2016 10 Feb
Celebrity-Filled <i>Zoolander 2</i> Models Questionable Humor

A fun bit of fluff that skewers pop culture and the fashion industry in a celebrity-studded romp, Zoolander 2 is gloriously silly, but probably not the best choice for the easily offended. 3 out of 5.


It's been years since anyone heard from supermodels Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson). A tragedy drove Zoolander into isolation as a "hermit crab" and sent Hansel on a journey to find himself. But when a mysterious invitation brings them together at a high-profile fashion event, the two end up working together with a sexy agent from Interpol's Fashion Police (Penélope Cruz) to foil a nefarious plot designed to wreak havoc on the world of fashion. It will take more than Derek's trademark "look" to get them out of this one.

What Works?

The sheer goofiness of it all. It's never possible to take this movie seriously and it's clear we're not meant to. Both the acting and the plot points are so over the top that even normally grotesque situations generally come off as funny. Kristen Wiig should win a special award for weirdest accent ever. Plus, Benedict Cumberbatch playing an androgynous supermodel engaged in a sultry pout-off with Stiller is just plain fun (I'd love to see the outtakes of that scene.) There are so many guest stars in cameo appearances, often playing caricatures of their real-life personas, that watching the movie is like playing Where's Waldo: Celebrity Edition.

What Doesn't?

Some of the "jokes" cross the line into seriously bad taste, such as when a man tries to cheer up a teen by reminiscing about a three-way sexual experience with the teen's parents. A "legend" that serves as a major plot point takes significant liberties with the story of Adam and Eve, and there are both pictorial and verbal references to a Christ-like sacrifice. It's not mean-spirited, but I found it annoying and unnecessary all the same.

SEE ALSO: Sisters: A Late-Blooming, Coming-of-Age Tale Drenched in Crude Sex

Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes

A character practices yoga and a man's dead wife appears as a ghost. There's a subtle parody of the Gospel story with talk about "the one" and how his blood rejuvenates those who drink it. But Zoolander 2 is also an odd kind of redemption story as our heroes take steps to become the men their "families" need them to be.

CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)

  • MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual content, a scene of exaggerated violence, and brief strong language.
  • Language/Profanity: Quite a lot of talk about sex, including various euphemisms both profane and not. A women points her middle finger at a group of paparazzi. Sh**, f***ing, bi***, he**, ba**ard, who**, and a couple of instances where the Lord's name is taken in vain.
  • Sexuality/Nudity: Some cleavage and thong shots, but not many. Sex is a popular topic; one character has a relationship with an "orgy" (a widely varied group of people and possibly animals) who [spoiler!] all get pregnant, even the males. They're shown milling about in a kind of group hug but there's nothing graphic. A character says "meaningless sex always makes me feel better." There are references to a "hand job joint" and similar business. A woman tells a man to grasp her breasts before they dive into the water (due to their buoyancy). A couple attempt to kiss with tongues involved, but their attire gets in the way making it more amusing than sultry. A perfume commercial involves a centaur-type male who is half cow being milked by a woman in a parody of a sex act.
  • Violence/Frightening/Intense: The violence is surprisingly bloodless (literally; people are shot and stabbed but don't bleed) and is generally more funny than disturbing. A man is chased down and riddled with bullet holes (but still manages to take a selfie); a couple of necks are quickly broken, knives are thrown and occasionally find a target; a car crash goes on forever but passengers are fine; a character is tied and readied to be a human sacrifice.
  • Drugs/Alcohol: People shown drinking in a bar, but mostly in the background.

The Bottom Line

RECOMMENDED FOR: Celebrity watchers, fashionistas, and those who appreciate comedies with a bit of a risqué side.

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Viewers who are easily offended or don't care for movies that lean to the silly side of comedy.

Zoolander 2, directed by Ben Stiller, opened in theaters February 12, 2016, available for home viewing May 24, 2016. It runs 102 minutes and stars Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Farrell, Penélope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Fred Armisen, Olivia Munn, Christine Taylor, Justin Bieber and Benedict Cumberbatch. Watch the trailer for Zoolander 2 here.

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Susan Ellingburg spends most days helping to create amazing live events and most nights at the movies, at rehearsals, or performing with vocal ensembles in the Dallas area. This leaves very little time for cleaning house. A natural-born Texan, Susan loves all things British, Sunday afternoon naps, cozy mysteries, traveling with friends, and cooking like a Food Network star (minus the camera crew).

Publication date: February 11, 2016

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