Here’s What the Critics Are Saying About Ben Stiller’s ‘Zoolander 2’

zoolanderZoolander 2 finally hits theaters this Friday, and so far, the critics’ response to the sequel has been…well, not so great! New and returning cast members like Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, and SNL’s Kyle Mooney got some shoutouts for their performances in the film, but most critics seem to agree that Zoolander 2 is, as Variety put it, a “cheap designer knockoff” of the original — which, let’s not forget, was released just weeks after 9/11 to critical reception that wasn’t any warmer than it is now. To sum it all up, you might enjoy Zoolander 2 if you’re a Zoolander fan who doesn’t mind that the sequel just recycles the jokes and format of the original, but if you’ve never seen the original, you might be better off watching that instead of the new one. In any case, here’s a roundup of what some of the critics are saying so far:

US Magazine: “So if you’re concerned that Zoolander 2, like 99 percent of comedy sequels, is a lame, cameo-stacked and bloated retread, be like Frankie and relax: Ben Stiller’s much-anticipated follow-up to his 2001 mini-classic is ridiculously funny. Stupid and unnecessary … but funny.”

Time Out: “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.”

IGN: “Without a new shtick to give it wings, the sequel feels less inspired. Zoolander 2 takes the jokes from the original and recycles them with a few minor tweaks, and the resulting film, while still very funny in fits and starts, never quite hits the high notes of its predecessor.”

Entertainment Weekly: “The thing is, if Stiller spent half as much time sharpening the film’s jokes as he did rifling through his Rolodex for celebrity cameos (Willie Nelson, Kiefer Sutherland, Susan Boyle?!), he might’ve coughed up a few laughs. As it is, though, Zoolander No. 2 is embarrassing, lazy, and aggressively unfunny. The only good news is that at the pace the franchise is moving, we won’t get Zoolander 3 until 2030.”

The Guardian: “Like a famous band playing live, Derek et al are required to do their greatest hits, not their new stuff ­— and they don’t really have much in the way of new stuff. Z2 is as moderately successful as could have been expected: the only really left-field moment is a thoroughly bizarre ‘miscarriage’ joke connected with Kiefer Sutherland. Derek and Hansel aren’t as hot right now as they used to be. But I still felt some warmth.”

Variety: “Really, the dumb thing about Zoolander 2 is that it isn’t nearly dumb enough: Rather than coasting along on a stream of blissful comic idiocy, it cobbles together a busy skein of twists and complications, as if the mental strain of following along might distract us from how crushingly unfunny it is. Things bog down further still with the incessant, obligatory callbacks to the original — look, it’s the Evil DJ! The assistant with the foamy latte! Did we mention Billy Zane? — which land with all the freshness of last decade’s fashion craze. Call it fan service or franchise continuity, but the result is a movie that basically telegraphed its best material 15 years in advance.”

ScreenCrush:Zoolander 2 is so disappointing it actually makes a more compelling case that its heroes are washed-up after all. When Mugatu tells Zoolander ‘It doesn’t hold up, does it?’ at one point, it’s a joke that resonates with a painful truth.”

The Wrap: “Even with four writers on hand, this smacks of ‘we’ll make up something hilarious on the spot,’ never accounting for the fact that everyone in the cast seems at least a little jet-lagged. Scene partners don’t seem to be on the same frequency, and the timing often falls flat, and the result is a movie that – in my audience, anyway – exhausted the good will and anticipation of people who were hoping to be entertained but ultimately capitulated to the general airlessness of the final product.”

The Hollywood Reporter: “Like a cute little outfit burdened with too many accessories, Zoolander 2 is a victim of overkill.”

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