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Non-Review Review: Zoolander II (aka 2oolander)

Zoolander II arrives a decade and half after Ben Stiller’s original male model comedy, perhaps tapping into the same rich vein of nostalgia that led to the release of Jurassic World and the relaunched X-Files.

Zoolander is a fascinating (and beloved) film. It is (along with Anchorman) one of the defining comedies of the early twenty-first century, to the point that it (allegedly) counts among Terrence Malick’s favourite films. The film offers one of Ben Stiller’s most iconic performances and is filled with memetic lines and catchphrases. Tellingly, the teaser trailer to Zoolander II offered hints to its identity through visual shout-outs to some of the gags that had soaked into the popular imagination. It is a surprise that the sequel took this long to produce.

Model investigators...

Model investigators…

Zoolander sits awkwardly between the end of the twentieth century and the start of the twenty-first. It was among the more high-profile films to digitally erase the World Trade Centre following the 9/11 attacks. Roger Ebert famously argued that Zoolander was one reason “why the United States is so hated in some parts of the world.” Mirroring its protagonist, the disconnect between the world in which the film was produced and the world in which is was released suggested an engaging innocence.

It is perhaps too much to expect Zoolander II to measure up to the original film, to offer that same surprising (and perhaps unintentional) innocence. Zoolander II is reasonably diverting, if solidly unspectacular. The film lacks the same sparkle that made the original such a hit, falling back a little bit too far on in-jokes and familiar characters without offering much new or exciting of its own.

A familiar ring to it...

A familiar ring to it…

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My Top 50 Movies of the Decade…

Alright here it is, my top fifty films of the decade. I’ve decided to stop complaining about Donal Clarke’s list in the Irish Times and just let rip myself. There’s more than a few crazy choices down there, but – after a week in the works – I’m happy with it. I doubt that a lot of other people will be.

Like the Oscars, but... you know, better...

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