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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Zoolander 2 -- the highly anticipated sequel to star Ben Stiller's 2001's silly but edgy modeling comedy Zoolander -- has a lot of similar content, from violence and mayhem played for laughs to jokes about orgies (and tons of cameos, natch). While there's no graphic nudity or actual simulated sex on display, the orgy scenes involve groups that include men, women, and animals. There's other innuendo, breast-size jokes, and sexual references as well. Characters are shot and stabbed, and other murders are planned. There's some swearing, including one "f--k," as well as social drinking and plenty of blatant product placement. Jokes are made at the expense of a kid who's overweight.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
It's been years since supermodel Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) stopped a deadly weapon with his signature "look," Magnum, and built the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good, and things aren't looking so great for him. His school collapsed, killing his wife and injuring his best friend, Hansel (Owen Wilson), who now won't speak to Derek and has retired from modeling, spending his days with his perpetual orgy. When the tabloids photograph Derek losing his temper while attempting to make spaghetti for his son, Child Protective Services whisks the boy away, leaving Derek holed up in the wilds of northern New Jersey. Then Billy Zane (reprising his role as himself from the original) shows up with an invitation for Derek to attend a fashion show hosted by the supreme fashionista, Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig). Reunited in Rome, Derek and Hansel find themselves roped into a murderous plot hatched by the evil Mugatu (Will Ferrell), who still hates Derek.
Is it any good?
To enjoy ZOOLANDER 2 is to ignore all the usual ways in which you measure fine filmmaking (like plot and story arc), because a) it's a hot mess, and b) it's still funny. Nostalgia fuels the comedy, from the moment we spot Derek in all his high-haired, narcissistic glory (and brief morose "hermit crab" stint) and Hansel in his loopy, laid-back ditziness. There are few better buddies to pair up in a buddy comedy than these two. (They're well-matched by Penelope Cruz as a swimsuit-model-turned-Interpol-investigator; she holds her own against the returning stars' wackiness.)
That the storyline -- something about the fountain of youth and Derek's son -- makes absolutely no sense (and is uncomfortable to boot, given that it makes fun of a young boy's weight) doesn't fully detract from the enjoyment of seeing Derek and Hansel back in action. But make no mistake, this movie is silly, crude, and even a bit outdated with all the jokes about supermodels, their (lack of) intellect, and their obsession with weight. It's also sometimes irritating in its zany mindlessness. But anything with Stiller, Wiig, Ferrell, and Wilson deserves watching ... as long as you adjust all expectations accordingly.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Zoolander 2's messages. In theory, it's mocking the shallower aspects of fashion and celebrity culture, but it also makes jokes at the expense of an overweight character. Is that inappropriate or in keeping with the film's themes? Can media affect kids' body image?
Derek and Hansel are portrayed as airheaded supermodels: Is that a cliche? How does the movie balance its affection for the characters with its commentary on models and fashion?
Does the film work as a sequel? What are the perils of following up on a movie that's become a cult favorite?
Who's the intended audience of this movie? Why do so many people love silly comedies? Why do different types of humor appeal to different people?
- In theaters: February 12, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: May 24, 2016
- Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz
- Director: Ben Stiller
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: crude and sexual content, a scene of exaggerated violence, and brief strong language