Comedy sequels are rarely a good idea. For every 22 Jump Street or Anchorman 2, there’s a Dumb and Dumber Too or The Hangover Part II. The problem with these films is that they’re usually too reliant on callbacks to the original and don’t have the guts to try something new. That’s a huge reason why Zoolander 2 is nowhere near as successful as its predecessor. Ben Stiller has directed some truly funny comedies throughout his career and the original Zoolander might just be his most popular film to date. It was a stupid film, no doubt, but it walked the fine line of delivering stupid humor in a clever way. It had some great laugh-out-loud moments and it was almost completely quotable from beginning to end. Zoolander 2 has none of these qualities. Other than a few sporadic chuckles, it’s a largely laughless affair that feels desperate when the original felt fresh.

Does the plot really matter in a film like this? Not really, but if you must know, this film picks up years after the original. Male model Derek Zoolander’s (Ben Stiller) wife was killed when his learning center collapsed on her and his son has now been taken away from him. Fellow model Hansel (Owen Wilson) was severely scarred in the disaster and both men are now in hiding. But when several of the world’s most beautiful celebrities are found murdered, special agent Valentina Valencia (Penélope Cruz) believes that Zoolander is the only person who can solve this case. They soon find out that this conspiracy is linked to a notorious fashion guru (Kristen Wiig) and the man that Zoolander helped put behind bars: Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell).

Zoolander 2’s biggest problem is that it’s simply not very funny, only managing to deliver a few sparse chuckles throughout its runtime. Many of the jokes here feel like they were copy and pasted from the original film, with Stiller and co-screenwriters Justin Theroux, Nicholas Stoller and John Hamburg relying too heavily on callbacks (the fact that the film touts four writers certainly didn’t help matters either). There are also so many celebrity cameos scattered throughout that they cause the audience to become numb to their intended comedic effect .The biggest laughs come from Wiig and Kyle Mooney, the former of which delivers such a ridiculous performance that you’ll wish she had a lot more screentime. But unfortunately Stiller and company can’t deliver on the expectations set by the original and continue Hollywood’s tradition of disappointing comedy sequels.

Zoolander 2 receives 2/4

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