- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2016

A retired fashion model attempts a comeback to reconnect with his son in the Ben Stiller-directed, 15-year-in-the-making sequel that perplexed critics and underwhelmed audiences.

Zoolander No. 2: The Magnum Edition (Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment, Rated PG-13, $34.98, 102 minutes) now looks for a fan resurgence through the Blu-ray format, much like its predecessor had a second life back in 2001.

Unfortunately, unlike the original, chuckles are at a premium here when Derek Zoolander teams up with former rival Hansel McDonald on a journey to find his offspring.

It will lead them to Rome to eventually stop a mythological fashion conspiracy, and the pair will encounter more celebrities than one would run into at an MTV award’s show.

The ensemble cast includes Mr. Stiller as Derek, Owen Wilson as Hans, Penélope Cruz as Interpol agent Valentina Valencia, Kristen Wiig as fashion leader Alexanya Atoz, Will Ferrell as the evil fashion genius Jacobim Mugatu and Benedict Cumberbatch as the androgynous model All.

That steady stream of star walk-ons includes Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Willie Nelson, Susan Sarandon, MC Hammer, Justin Bieber, Naomi Campbell, Billy Zane, Sting and even Kiefer Sutherland to name only a few (I’m not kidding).

Now, I’ll hand it to Mr. Cumberbatch and Miss Wiig who go all in with their very bizarre roles. I won’t go into detail but each provides a creepy and freakish characterization worthy of appreciation.

Overall, while the first film reveled in its absurdity of the fashion industry, the sequel never capture the magic again and devolves into a really lumbering, dumb action spy saga verging on a super-hero buddy flick.

The only spark is around the last 20 minutes of the film when Mugatu breaks out of prison to fulfill a bizarre prophecy, and onscreen chaos ensues. Mr. Ferrell’s presence, energy and lunacy will generates the highest quotient of laughs.

Extras are at also at a premium, no optional commentary track from Mr. Stiller, but worth a look.

First up, viewers get a 9-minute retrospective of the Derek Zoolander phenomenon celebrated by the actors in the current film and, yeah, that’s as weird as it sounds. Mr. Stiller is way too serious throughout, but everyone seems very happy to celebrate the sequel.

Next, a 7-minute overview to the Rome shooting location features Mr. Stiller and the cast gushing a bit of a travelogue about the city’s history and hot spots.

Finally, and the most impactful, is an 8-minute homage to comedian Drake Sather, the man who created the character Derek Zoolander. It includes vintage performance moments from his stand-up career and words from friends such as Judd Apatow and Mr. Stiller.

Paramount also tosses in a short faux commercial for the skin cream called Youth Milk, hilariously but unintelligibly presented by the mighty Alexanya Atoz.

What’s obviously missing here is a gag reel and deleted scenes. I mean, come, on, all that comedic talent on the set and no alternate takes or break ups?

Worth noting, the package contains a code to own the film digitally and, even better, a code for fans to also get a digital copy of the original “Zoolander,” both using the free, UltraViolet cloud-based streaming/download service.

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