When it comes to comedy sequels, they rarely, if ever, surpass the original. One simply cannot reinvent the wheel, one can merely add a few new jokes and some colorful characters to it. Truer words have never been spoken when it comes to Zoolander No. 2, a sequel that took 15 years to make. Paramount Pictures and writer/director/producer and star Ben Stiller seriously couldn’t come up with a better followup to the adventures of a dimwitted male model which was a very clever satire on the fashion world. 15 years and they came up with a slightly amusing yet contrived and forced spy adventure with plenty of broad humor and corny zingers. Sure, it works (here and there) but the only saving graces are the interactions between some of the characters, most notably scenes with Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig, two seasoned comedians and former SNL cast mates. The moments between Stiller and Owen Wilson are okay but it just feels like we’ve gone down this runway before.
In 2006, the world was introduced to the Night at the Museum film series, a cinematic adaptation of Milan Trenc’s 1993 children’s book of the same name. The film focused on Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) and his adventures as a night security guard at New York’s Museum of Natural History. A magical artifact eventually causes the exhibits to come alive and it is then up to Larry to basically survive the night. A sequel, Battle of the Smithsonian was released in 2009 and it continued the plot with Larry trying to survive another night, this time in Washington, D.C.’s famed Smithsonian Institution. A third and final installment, Secret of the Tomb, will be released this year during the holiday season, so the whole family can enjoy one final museum adventure with Larry and the gang.
Writers are an interesting breed. They see the world in a way that is contrary to most non-creative types. To put together a piece of work that elicits powerful emotion and invites the reader to think, well that is just what knowledge and the pursuit of all things good is all about. The latest independent drama Listen Up Philip is a film that puts writers under the microscope and examines their place in society. With a strong cast and a dry, witty script, this is a film that won’t draw in mass audiences but it will leave an impression on the artsy crowd hungry for eccentric characters with realistic problems.