Why the Decline of the Frat Pack Comedy Is Great News for ‘Zoolander 2’
In light of Vince Vaughn’s fifth box office bomb Unfinished Business, The Guardian has a great piece out today about the decline of “Frat Pack” movies starring Vaughn and frequent collaborators like Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson that sums up why audiences no longer enjoy “watching men not far off 50 imitate children” in favor of newer and more diverse voices like Melissa McCarthy and Kevin Hart. On the bright side, the end of the piece offers a drop of hope for Zoolander fans and breaks down why the Frat Pack’s recent failures are potentially great news for next year’s sequel:
The diversity that McCarthy and Hart represent (and even the nervy, chubby Hill and Rogen, too) suggest that part of the Pack’s key flaw today is its makeup: all white, all male, all of an age. Even their contemporary Apatow isn’t interested in making movies with them anymore. Instead he’s hunting for successors to Girls and producing and directing a vehicle for a relatively unknown woman (Trainwreck, starring Amy Schumer, positioned as one of the summer’s biggest).
And this, perhaps, is why the last gasp of the Pack – Zoolander 2, which Stiller and Wilson teased this week on the Valentino catwalk – may just be a stroke of genius. Derek and Hansel were aware they were ageing models ripe for the recycling bin in the first film. Fifteen years on, their plight mirrors that of the actors playing them. Maybe there’s pathos in going out of fashion.
This wouldn’t be the first time Zoolander was considered the end of a certain era for big-screen comedies. The original film debuted in theaters just 17 days after the September 11th attacks, and ten years later The New York Times called the film “one of the last all-out, joke-driven comedies released before the rise and stifling reign of the jokeless comedy.” It seems fitting that Zoolander 2 might be the first self-aware bro comedy of the Frat Pack era — or maybe even the last one that’s critically and financially successful — and from the plot details Stiller has revealed so far, that seems to be the direction he’s interested in: “I think part of the sequel will be about how the fashion world moves so quickly,” he said in 2013. “So, the movie will begin at a time when the whole world has moved on from Derek and Hansel because they’re so ancient history. It’s about them having to reinvent themselves and try to become relevant again.”