In a time when superhero and CGI laden epics typically dominate the box-office, it often seems as though the number of comedies to choose from at the local multiplex are few and far between. This of course, can be dependent entirely on one’s definition of comedy, but more specifically, films that succeed at producing laughs for 90 minutes straight are quite rare.
No doubt about it, comedy is a tough business. If it’s funny, it works. If it’s not, it tanks. Those are the deceptively simple sounding truths of creating a successful comedic film. In 2001, Ben Stiller banked on those risks when he co-wrote, directed and starred in Zoolander, the tale of moronic male model Derek Zoolander (Stiller) and his quest to regain his top spot in the modelling world. Opinions on the film were divided – some felt it was too stupid to bother with, while others were completely smitten. Zoolander’s box-office take wasn’t enormous, but as time passed, the film developed a cult following thanks to a willingness not to take itself too seriously and its eminent quotability.
Fans of the original have had a long wait for a follow up. By the time it's released, Zoolander 2 will have taken Ben Stiller fifteen years to bring to life. There’s certainly no lack of demand for it either, as the film’s most recent trailer has proven. According to Paramount Pictures, the full-length Zoolander 2 trailer has become the most successful comedic trailer of all time, with a whopping 52.2 million views in its first week alone.
Are you one of the few who still hasn't seen it? Check it out:
This time around, Derek Zoolander and his modelling pal Hansel (Owen Wilson) are facing off against a rival company that wants to take them out of the modelling business for good. Shot in Rome, Italy, Zoolander 2 offers a greatly diverse and comedic cast, including the return of Will Ferrell as deranged fashionista Mugatu, Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), Fred Armisen (Portlandia), Olivia Munn (Mortdecai), Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) and Penelope Cruz (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides).
For some however, what’s been seen of Zoolander 2 is no laughing matter. Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of the androgynous character known as the world’s greatest supermodel, All, has ignited a storm of opposition by those who see the character as a mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary people. A petition currently being circulated by activist website Care2 has thus far reached over 14,000 signatures of people pledging to boycott the film upon its February release. Whether or not these boycotts will grow to directly picketing the film outside the theatre is unknown as of yet.
Despite the negative press the film has received, many people are looking for a film that can quite simply allow them the hope, if not the promise, of laughter. Given the current state of the world, it’s not surprising that so many people watched the trailer in anticipation of something that might make them smile.
At the same turn, it’s unknown how many of those 52.2 million people who viewed the trailer out of curiosity or anger over the controversy it has created. Surely Zoolander 2 has enough of a following to trump its predecessor’s box-office gross, but whether or not its humour will leave audiences laughing or straight-faced is all part of the daunting risk that a comedy must take.
Zoolander 2 will be released on February 12th, 2016.
Source: Paramount Pictures