Zoolander 2 parents guide

Zoolander 2 Parent Review

The best fate anyone could wish for this production is that it will be cast off as fast as last year's fashion faux pas.

Overall D

Everything old is new again in this sequel to the 2001 film. Reprising their former roles, Ben Stiller plays an aging male model and Owen Wilson stars as Hansel, his friend in fashion.

Violence C-
Sexual Content C-
Profanity C-
Substance Use B

Zoolander 2 is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, a scene of exaggerated violence, and brief strong language.

Movie Review

The original Zoolander released just days after the fall of the World Trade Center in New York City. Poking fun of the fashion industry, it didn’t do well at the box office. Yet, like a bottle of Kool-Aid turning into reasonably fine wine, the film has garnered a cult following and an appreciation for some of its witty lines—both likely reasons why Ben Stiller felt it was a good idea to create a sequel fifteen years later. Frankly, he should have walked away from the original and been grateful for his unexpected win instead of directing and starring in what is possibly the greatest waste of filmmaking money and cameo faces the industry has seen in some time.

The movie begins with Derek Zoolander (Stiller), the idiot fashion model, recovering from a personal loss linked to the plot of the first movie that’s far too ridiculous to detail. (If you haven’t seen that one and still insist on watching Number 2, you may want to do your homework first.) Fifteen years older, the has-been decides to revive his career after a strange plea, à la Star Wars, is delivered to him. Fortuitously, the same holograph message is also sent to his old buddy Hansel (Owen Wilson).

Finding a reason to get these two buffoons back on the runway isn’t easy, so Stiller’s three screenwriters cooked up a conspiracy theory involving an Interpol agent named Valentina, played by Penelope Cruz. A former swimsuit model who was never taken seriously in the industry because her breasts were too big (cue Stiller’s and Wilson’s admiring stare), she’s convinced the pair of failed fashionistas are the key to finding a serial killer who has murdered some of the world’s most famous pop stars. (The opening minutes of the film feature Justin Bieber being gunned down.)

The way-too-long sequence showing Bieber’s body being riddled with dozens of bullets is the high-water mark for depicted violence in this movie, although there is discussion about human sacrifice too and some images implying a heart has been pulled out of a living body. Of course, there is lots of other madcap mayhem that’s so nonsensical it makes the Three Stooges look like Harvard boys. Meanwhile sexual discussion pervades this script that depends on crudities and innuendo to generate humor. Orgies, bisexuality, intersexuality and bestiality are only a few topics joked about. A variety of moderate and mild profanities, including a sexual expletive and a finger gesture, are included as well.

Perhaps the real conspiracy in Zoolander 2 is how Stiller sacrificed the script in favor of finding a moment to parade all of his famous friends (Sting, Susan Sarandon, Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and Marc Jacobs to name a few). Fragments of story are thrown on the screen in a manner that seems far more intent on increasing the ratio of cameos per minute than driving the plot toward a plausible conclusion. The few positive messages for young audiences—like not judging the career potential of a swimsuit model by her chest size, or discriminating against fat people—are lost in the tediousness of the rest of the tripe. The best fate anyone could wish for this production is that it will be cast off as fast as last year’s fashion faux pas.

Directed by Ben Stiller. Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penélope Cruz. Running time: 102 minutes. Theatrical release February 12, 2016. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Zoolander 2 here.

Zoolander 2 Parents Guide

This movie features many celebrity cameos. How many did you recognize? Why do you think famous people would agree to appear in a movie? How does the movie’s content reflect on their image?

The film also includes many product placements—scenes where brand named merchandise is shown. Why are deals made between manufactures and moviemakers? How is this inclusion similar to the celebrity cameos?

Several of the characters shown here are going through an identify crisis. How do issues like body image, abandonment, and lack of father figures tie into their problems? Where could you turn if you were also asking the question, “Who am I?”