Zoolander 2 (2016)


Derek and Hansel are lured into modeling again, in Rome, where they find themselves the target of a sinister conspiracy. (IMDb)
A convoluted and lazily written plot (see the terrible climax that renders pretty much everything previous irrelevant) is jammed onto a non-stop ride of ridiculousness that more often than not doesn’t generate laughs (the sexual innuendos are lame; Armisen’s head unnerving; the celebrity cameos mostly tiresome, straight-faced and dramatic Sutherland aside-“minus one”) but earns points for Wiig’s hilariously accented Alexanya and just for the sheer amount of insanity thrown out there by the end.
5.5/10 (Poor)

Little Fockers (2010)


Family-patriarch Jack Byrnes wants to appoint a successor. Does his son-in-law, the male nurse Greg Focker, have what it takes? (IMDb)
A little old and tired, just like its characters, with a dumb plot pulled out of thin air (“Godfocker”? Really?) and over-the-top body/sex humour trying desperately but failing to get some laughs (see the finger-cutting; erection incident). Elsewhere, there are a few funny moments (Dern’s small part is a highlight; Wilson’s Spacey Kevin is always good), and the marriage/family drama probably would have been decent if the film didn’t try and make it funny (see the uncomfortable hospital scene).
5.5/10 (Poor)

Meet the Fockers (2004)


All hell breaks loose when the Byrnes family meets the Focker family for the first time. (IMDb)
A most minimal of plots is saved by the excellent cast, who play off their characters’ striking contrasts (to DeNiro’s no-fun Jack and Stiller’s awkward Greg is added Hoffman’s delightfully exuberant Bernie and Streisand’s free-spirited Roz) with natural ease and to hilarious results, as the script takes the chaotic tension impressively far (even deep) before the heartwarming payoff (see Jack’s “we’re family now”). Given the film’s length though, the silly son sub-story could have been cut.
7/10 (Good)

Zoolander (2001)


At the end of his career, a clueless fashion model is brainwashed to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia. (IMDb)
Stiller’s pucker-faced lead is annoying more often than funny, but he has his moments (“Mer-man!”) and fortunately, the model-world satire he’s a part of is laugh-out-loud outrageous (see the underground walk-off; wacky final runway show), his counterpart Wilson’s smooth but equally dim-witted model is a riot (see his awards intro video), and well, people being dumb is just pretty funny most of the time (case in point: the ridiculous gasoline fight; 2001 ape spoof: “They’re IN the computer!”).
7/10 (Good)

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)


An estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when their father announces he is terminally ill. (IMDb)
Enjoyably quirky narrated character set-ups lead into a melancholic family reunion drama artistically crafted (memorable costumes and an excellent soundtrack stand out) but saturated with so much deadpan dialogue that it gets a little tiresome at points. Not all of the characters connect (Raleigh is inconsequential; Eli feels out of place) but Royal is a strong lead in his flawed quest for redemption, and Chas (see his guard let down; “I’ve had a tough year”) and Richie eventually hit home too.
7/10 (Good)

Envy (2004)

The plot here is about as brief and light as you can get within a feature-length film (there’s not even the expected friendship fall-out near the end), but it’s appreciably silly: Black’s oblivious optimist and Stiller’s straight guy are a good pair; Walken’s long-haired oddball, “J-Man”, is a riot; and the main premise is ridiculous enough to feel self-aware. Black’s infomercials and Stiller’s dead horse troubles are two highlights in this appetizer-sized but funny enough comedy.

Meet the Parents (2000)

Male nurse Greg Focker meets his girlfriend’s parents before proposing, but her suspicious father is every date’s worst nightmare. (IMDb)
The “meet the parents” premise is taken to amusing extremes here as Stiller’s average Joe buckles under the pressure to please De Niro’s intimidating former CIA agent dad. The humour that results doesn’t miss: The awkward dad-boyfriend interplay is on point, the slapstick mishaps are funny and not overdone, and Murphy’s Law pushes its limit in an excruciating but hilarious storyline. The script is shallow but content to simply generate laughs, which it thankfully does on a consistent basis.
7/10 (Good)