Ben Stiller’s long-awaited male model comedy sequel has finally reached the big screen. Fifteen years after he directed and starred in the first Zoolander movie, he is back with Zoolander 2, which opens in theaters today. The comedy follows dim-witted supermodels Derek Zoolander (Stiller) and his buddy Hansel (Owen Wilson) 15 years after the original as they get invited back into the fashion world by a new designer in Rome.
The film uses some of the biggest designers and brands in the business to get its laughs. Zoolander 2’s numerous designer cameos include Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, Alexander Wang and Valentino. Just two days before the kickoff of New York Fashion Week, Stiller, Wilson, Penelope Cruz and Will Ferrell hit the red carpet as their Zoolander 2 alter-egos for the movie’s Feb. 9 New York City premiere. Photos from the red carpet were almost immediately posted to the @Zoolander Instagram account.
Ben Stiller’s Derek Zoolander was on the cover of the February issue of Vogue magazine. The cover featured Stiller striking his best Zoolander pose alongside co-star Cruz. The story and accompanying photographs shot by Annie Leibovitz fill 13 pages inside the edition. Vogue was instrumental in getting the first film made. Key scenes were filmed during commercial breaks during the 2000 VH1 / Vogue Fashion Awards.
The stars even made a surprise appearance on a Paris runway to generate hype for the movie. The show was the Valentino Fall/Winter 2015-2016 women’s ready-to-wear runway show. Stiller hit the runway in full Derek Zoolander mode in a custom Valentino Night Butterflies brocade suit and hand-embroidered overcoat. Wilson, as Hansel, was wearing a silk print pajama suit and double cashmere overcoat. Both were from the designer’s men’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection. The act effectively put the world on notice that the long-awaited sequel was finally going to happen.
Zoolander 2 hasn’t exactly received glowing reviews so far. Legendary film critic Leonard Maltin deemed the film completely unworthy of his time. An article written by Maltin explains why he felt compelled to walk out of his Zoolander 2 screening about halfway through watching it. His reasons vary from jokes that don’t land to an excessive number of celebrity cameos. He also mentions in his article that he actually liked the original, which made the sequel even more disappointing.
The film has been marred by controversy ever since the first trailer was released. Benedict Cumberbatch portraying a caricature of a transgender model sparked calls for boycotts of the movie. Whether this poor initial reception translates to poor box office performance still remains to be seen.