The original Zoolander came out just weeks after 9/11, at a time when pundits had declared irony dead. A send-up of fashion culture, mocked male models and inane themes and was pretty much a mess. But while a modest success in its initial run, the intervening 15 years of exposure have allowed its silly charms to marinate. The new sequel is just as outrageous, but in many ways an even more absurdist romp — it leaves logic by the wayside in favor of its anything-for-a-laugh aesthetic. And that formula pretty much works. As much as the low-budget, hacky Scary Movie comedies, Zoolander 2 is true spoof in the Austin Powers vein, mocking not just Bond films but also Dan Brown movies and even Star Wars. Tons of cameos, especially Benedict Cumberbatch as a genderfluid model and Kiefer Sutherland (playing himself) as the lover of Owen Wilson’s Hansel give everything a delicious contemporary twist. The pacing is uneven, but who cares? Like the Jump Street movies — and perhaps fashion itself — the point is less about art than artifice.
If you’re working on your Oscar pool, you might wanna catch Boy and the World, one of the nominees for animated feature film. Although it certainly doesn’t have a shot against the juggernaut of Inside Out (or even the angst-ridden underdog of stop-motion Anomalisa), this line-drawn parable about a boy searching for his dad is a dazzling bit of retro visual splendor.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 12, 2016.