While it might seem incredible to release a sequel in 2016, Zoolander 2, which comes out today, nevertheless manages to capture the same early-2000s feel as the original.
That's due in part to the fact that titular male model Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb) and sidekick Hansel (Owen Wilson, No Escape) have conveniently been in hiding for the past decade and a half.
Fake newsreels at the beginning of the film tell us the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good And Who Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too was made from the same material as the miniature model in the first film and collapsed. Derek's wife Matilda died and Child Protective Services took his son Derek Jr.; Hansel's face was left scarred. When the duo eventually re-emerges to reclaim their lives and modeling careers, they are walking time capsules of the period in which the first movie was set.
Overall, the plot is less funny and ridiculous this go-round. Instead of being hypnotized by evil fashion mogul Mugatu (Will Ferrell, Daddy's Home), Derek is recruited by Interpol to investigate the murders of the world's most beautiful people — all of whom died making his trademark "Blue Steel" face.
But fortunately, like its predecessor's storyline, Zoolander 2's plot is only secondary to its one-liners, slapstick gags and a seemingly endless parade of confusing celebrity cameos.
To a certain extent, the sequel lacks the ingenuity of the first film and mainly rehashes a lot of fan-favorite moments from the original Zoolander instead of inventing new ones. Inexplicably set in Rome this time, orange mocha frappuccinos become orange mocha gelatos; an imprisoned Mugatu is more or less replaced by equally insane Italian designers Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig, The Martian) and Don Atari (Kyle Mooney, It Had To Be You).
The film does introduce some new and compelling characters — from swimsuit model-turned-secret agent Valentina (Penélope Cruz, The Counselor) to potentially offensive gender-neutral model All (Benedict Cumberbatch, Black Mass) — but they pale in comparison to the old ones who return.
On the whole, Zoolander 2 doesn't bring anything new or necessary to the franchise. Nevertheless, die-hard fans looking only for a nostalgic reiteration of the first film — and strange appearances by Justin Bieber, Kiefer Sutherland and Neil deGrasse Tyson, among others — will enjoy the film.