Ben Stiller resurrects Derek Zoolander into a world who has forgotten about the magic of the male model. It’s been 15 years since we’ve last seen Blue Steel, and Stiller goes all in – starring, writing and directing the dynamic duo of modeling. Derek and Hansel (Owen Wilson) trip through a creepy conspiracy in Rome, rife with silly clichés and dozens of celebrity cameos. Penélope Cruz comes aboard, and Will Ferrell seems to have a ball returning as the villain Mugatu. Justin Theroux even takes time out from playing the lead on one of the best shows on TV, “The Leftovers,” to help Stiller write the script and reprise his role as the evil DJ. It matches the tone of the first film. It’s filled to the rim with silliness. Some of the first film’s silliness makes an encore. The rehashed material isn’t as funny as Stiller, Wilson and Ferrell just riffing on the script. Derek Zoolander’s insipidness may’ve been before his time because he’s still worth a watch.
“How to Be Single”
Back in 2009, the writing team of Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein took Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo’s self-help book, “He's Just Not That Into You,” and turned it into an ensemble cast rom-com. Well, Kohn and Silverstein are at it again, adapting Tuccillo’s novel into another ensemble rom-com. The cast is the strength, building off a four-corner foundation of actresses at different points of their careers – Dakota Johnson (“Fifty Shades of Grey”), Rebel Wilson (“Pitch Perfect”), Leslie Mann (“This is 40”) and Alison Brie (“Community”). Damon Wayans Jr., Anders Holm, Nicholas Braun, Jake Lacy and Jason Mantzoukas – their male counterparts are better because of the females’ lead. At times, theme overrides character and the plot flatlines. This is especially true with Dakota Johnson’s storyline, but Rebel Wilson and Leslie Mann power through every scene they’re in and make this one barely worth a watch.
“Sleeping with Other People”
Alison Brie comes back around here to team up with Jason Sudeikis in this indie comedy about a womanizing nice guy and a young woman who can’t stop cheating. They become friends and set out to be better at relationships. Surprise, surprise – they’re probably going to fall in love. It’s not much of a spoiler because that’s how movies work. The surprises come from the dramatic turns and the comfortable chemistry between Brie and Sudeikis. Even though they’re sleeping around and breaking up relationships, they both come off as damn likeable. Writer/director Leslye Headland (“Bachelorette”) builds this chemistry with nicely timed interactions, and a brisk tension from costars Amanda Peet and Adam Scott. The real bonus comes from scenes with Jason Mantzoukas and Andrea Savage which work as funny breaks between acts. Don’t sleep on this one because it’s worth a watch.