Why I Walked Out of ‘Zoolander 2’

Why I Walked Out of ‘Zoolander 2’

Let me explain: I never walk out of movies. Ever. Once I’m at a screening or a theater, I stay till the bitter end. I used to tell myself it was because I hoped the film would get better, but that almost never happens. I also felt I couldn’t properly review a film unless I watched it from start to finish. (I fear there is also a streak of masochism involved.)
But as I embarked on the experience of watching Zoolander 2 at a press screening the other night, I had an immediate reaction of annoyance and impatience. The film was stupid right from the start. I told myself that I was wasting my time for no good reason.
Still, I stayed. Ten minutes passed, then twenty, filled with puerile and unfunny gags; along with gratuitous cameo appearances by everyone from Katy Perry to Willie Nelson. If even one of them had seemed clever I might have summoned some hope for the rest of the picture, but it was not to be.
Mind you, I thought the original Zoolander was pretty funny. I had no reason to expect this one to be so much worse. But it is.
Finally, after almost an hour, I strode out of the theater, proud of myself for taking positive action and sparing myself further insult. If there are hilarious moments in the latter half of the movie I can’t cite them for you. I can only offer an honest appraisal of what I saw. I bear no permanent grudge against anyone connected with the movie and hope they do better the next time out.
By the way, it felt good to get home earlier than usual…and I think I turned a corner. Life is too short to spend two hours in a state of total exasperation.

This Article is related to: Reviews and tagged , , , , , ,


Comments

KC

I thought I objected to critics walking out of films, but now I realize I didn’t like the way critics would then review the film–as if they could judge the whole thing on a half hour. I like how you handled this. You were descriptive, honest, decent to the filmmakers, and this point you’ve earned the privilege to bag a crap movie.

Michael

But still you made it through Date Movie, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans…? I can’t believe this is worse.

Ben

I’d be interested to see if you could get past the first half hour of "Dirty Grandpa." If so, you could probably handle water boarding.

Bernice

Sometimes actors are so desperate for success and another movie or two they reduce to the absolute ridiculous plots (if these type of movies have plots) usually all they are is character dressed up funny, making odd gestures and movements to generate laughter from the audience and so receive great movie reviews. I have not seen this movie but out there are a few actors who cannot seem to drum up a serious movie so they go to the ridiculous and the ridiculous is ridiculous and the entire effort becomes an exercise in embarrassment. I like humour, I like funny, but cannot stand these only to be called "embarrassmenting" – how would you stand up at a movie preview and be interviewed without hiding your face behind your hand.

DF

Leonard, I had a similar experience years ago at a film festival premiere of a movie by a famous international director. When I emerged from the theater after an hour (of a 3 hour plus movie) fed up, a friend who was volunteering at the festival saw me in the lobby and thought I was just getting a coke or taking a bathroom break and gushingly asked "Are you seeing the new one by him? WOW is it GREAT?!??!" And when I said, diplomatically, "Well, frankly I don’t think it is one of his best." the filmschool pal gushed futher, "Well…him FAILING is better than 99% of that drek from Hollywood!" I felt SO GOOD leaving that I was NOT like him. I understand what you mean about a life-changing moment. Sooner or later, you realize that nothing really bad is worth a MINUTE of your precious life. Congrats!

Jerry

As one of the earliest Leonard Maltin fans…I used to get some of your newsletters and pamphlets…I’m somewhat shocked that you aren’t walking out on more films these days. Not to sound like a fuddy-duddy, but films these days are getting more and more stupid and pandering and these so-called "stars" like Ben Stillborn, are nothing but corporate shills and they should not allowed to make especially comedies, which is the absolute hardest genre to do right. Maybe a handful of comedies every decade sticks, if that and the attempts to try to scale the heights and do right by comedy are becoming increasingly infuriating and pathetic.

Woody Wise

Bravo Leonard!
Bravo Leonard!

C.E. Martin

What if people had opted out of reading your reviews early in your career–they didn’t like your writing maybe? Don’t you feel you’ve grown as a writer and reviewer over the years? Leaving a movie early is fine, but casting judgement on the entire endeavor, uninformed, is not. You shouldn’t have even "reviewed" it.

Vincent

Leonard, somewhere your friend Roger Ebert is smiling. Sounds like this Zoolander is straight out of Rob Schneider territory.

Susan Wloszczyna

Good for you, Leonard. I have had the stamina to sit through countless putrid films for work reasons. I remember being the only audience member left at the very end of a once-packed screening of Steven Seagel’s On Deadly Ground when he devoted countless minutes to an environmental speech. And, similarly, I was about the only person left during a screening of Freddy Got Fingered. But I have only left before the end of two films as a civilian: The Night Porter (the sado-masochism just got ridiculous by the end) and First Love with Susan Dey and William Katt. Never seen the endings to this day. And I am fine with that.

Billy

Um … Howard the Duck.

Curtis

So…what you’re saying is that you didn’t give the film its day in court? It’s your job to review films. So you must sit through it all and then review it. Your review is lazy, much like your terrible books filled with terrible 2 line reviews.

Paul Weissman

The only film I walked out on was Ronin…and I paid two whole dollars to see it. I’ve been reviewing films for a couple of years and, though I’ve seen my share of stinkers, the only one I truly regretted staying to the end of was Everly starring Salma Hayak. It took all my energy and will to sit till the end of that awful, misogynistic pile of junk.

eric

You turn in your press pass Leonard! Do it now!

Steven

You know, I understand what Leonard did was unprofessional but if it is really that bad. I don’t blame him. The last really bad movie I saw in the theaters was "Aloha". There were moments I wanted to walk out but I knew I had a job to do for my own blog and another one that I was writing for. That was an awful film.

I don’t think even Leonard even made it through the entirety of those Friedberg/Seltzer garbage. I don’t even consider them bad movies but rather just garbage disguised as low-brow entertainment.

Peter

It can’t be as bad as Dirty Grandpa

Fernando Villacorta

I don’t think Zoolander 2’s intended audience is for a 65 year old man who knows nothing or understanding of pop culture/references; so this is irrelevant.

Nick

There’s nothing worse than a movie that simply has no reason to exist. Even bad movies have some joy or spark to them that makes me you wonder how it happened. Sounds like this was just a money grab.

Joel Wicklund

Leonard, I greatly appreciate your contributions as a film historian, but as a critic you are abdicating your duties here. Yes, life is short, but there are people who would kill to have your job. Find a way to expand upon your disgust, but you can’t bail on a movie and then pretend to review it. It’s a "work day" — we all have bad ones.

Ed

Comedy is hard.

Julie von Zerneck

I love the way you write. It’s all so perfectly clear. Thanks, Leonard.

Ali Stevenson

I rarely walk out of a movie. I just fall asleep.

Rinaldo

I’ve always thought that it’s entirely legitimate for a critic to leave before the end, AS LONG AS they are honest about it, and claim no more experience with the work than they actually had. "I just couldn’t make it through" is itself a critical reaction, if sincere (and not resorted to excessively often). This review meets all my criteria, which doesn’t mean that I’d agree about the movie (if I ever saw it), just that Mr. Maltin has behaved honorably here.

Nat Segaloff

Good for you. Recognizing that you could not have given an unbiaased review of the movie is the best reason to pull the plug on watching it. In fact, when I was reviewing, I would even hand off the assignment to a stringer if I knew I hated the filmmaker’s work going in. As long as a critic runs a disclaimer, it’s proper. I wish more of us would. It saves resorting to nasty comments when the film speaks for itself.

Scott

Man, people have become cynical a-holes over anything just so other cynical a-holes will read their blogs or magazines. Anyone who saw Zoolander 1 knows exactly what they’re getting into by buying a ticket to this one.. This movie was good in the sense that it is exactly what it is supposed to be. Stupid. Stupid and funny.

I’ll say this for anyone looking to this comment section for confirmation that you were right. You don’t go into a Transformers of Fast and the Furious film expecting the Shawshank Redemption, so don’t expect the same from Derek Zoolander. It’s worth watching.

CP

So you don’t quote any reasons or why any of the gags wern’t funny? Just I didn’t like it and found it unfunny an left. Shouldn’t, as a reviewer, it have the WHY it is not funny?

mike schlesinger

Sorry, haters, but Leonard has it exactly right. He didn’t review the movie because he couldn’t tolerate any more and didn’t want to misrepresent himself. As it should be. I have the luxury of avoiding movies I’m fairly certain I’ll hate, but as a critic, he doesn’t. (In case anyone cares, I’ve only walked out on two movies in the last decade: BLUE VALENTINE (gave up after 80 minutes) and TRAINWRECK (stuck it out for 90. I would have left BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR, but the director was sitting right behind me.) For the record, I have what I call the King Kong Rule. In the 1933 original, Kong does not appear until 49" into the film, so anyone walking out after 48" would never have seen him. Thus I feel any movie is entitled to at least that length before throwing in the towel.

Leo

You should have watched Deadpool. Even if you are not into super hero movies, comedy is comedy no matter the movie genre.

Tom Jensen

Aw, you should have stayed, the end was brilliant!

Lucius P Frankenstein

A country that can seriously consider Donald Trump as a Presidential candidate deserves movies as dumb as "Zoolander 2"!

Hilling Ezack

Wow, what a boring walk out story. I am sad that I read past the title, I thought it was gonna dish out something actually critical.

Lucius P Frankenstein

Any nation that can seriously consider Donald Trump as a Presidential candidate deserves movies as dumb as "Zoolander 2"! I rest my case your honor!

Richard Horgan

I jumped over after reading this to Rotten Tomatoes, to see who are the (at press time) 27 critics giving this thing a "Fresh" rating. All I can say, Mr. Maltin, is you’ll have a hard time believing the pulled quote from the guy writing for RogerEbert dot com.

Lucius P Frankenstein

Any nation that can seriously consider Donald Trump as a Presidential candidate deserves movies as dumb as "Zoolander 2"! I rest my case your honor!

Marc Schenker

Next we’ll see Ted Sarandas of Netflix announce an exciting array of movies with Ben Stiller as a follow up to the exciting array of movies with Adam Sandler. Why Netflix original content sucks.

mattinacan

extremely rude to walk out of a press screening, boo hoo you have to watch a movie. you should really be more professional than that.

MJS

You know, there are times when I want to leave work early too, but I don’t have the privilege of doing it. If you’re going to be paid to be a movie critic, watching the entirety of Zoolander 2 is going to be one of your duties. Given the multitude of other less appealing ways there are to earn a living Mr. Maltin is not going to get much sympathy from me over the fact that he occasionally needs to watch movies that aren’t very good.

Lucius P Frankenstein

Any nation that can seriously consider Donald Trump as a Presidential candidate deserves movies as dumb as "Zoolander 2"! I rest my case your honor!

Mark Arnold

I’m curious if you feel less obligated to sit through an entire film since you no longer produce the annual Movie Guide. I used to never walk out on films, but I, like you, find my time way too valuable as I get older.

Brian of Stewart

You’re old. You can see the sand in the hourglass running down. You are not the first movie critic to arrive at this point . Spend the time you have left seeing films that enrich and challenge you but please refrain from telling us about the ones you walk out on because there’s not much value in that either.

LA2000

Oh, brother. Leonard, it’s your job. I can imagine that watching you walk into the waiting room might really bum out your proctologist, but still he manages to pull himself together and get through the day. It’s what adults do.

Perhaps after all of these years, you have become so pickled in self indulgence that you have forgotten that not only was your screening free, but you get paid to attend. I have no patience for your self congratulatory nonsense when there are people in this world who would be thrilled to take a break from actual, difficult, poorly paid work to sit in a free screening of a bad movie.

Man up or retire.

George

Was it Caddyshack 2 bad?

an

It’s your job to review movies. Do your job or let someone else do it.

Kurtt

Can’t wait for Maltin to review Stiller’s comedy remake of Satantango.

SVG

You should have known almost all sequels are crap, and this one that took 15 years to come to screen after the first found a modest cult following was never going to be as good. Hollywood has no ideas, no new concepts for new movies and therefore regurgitates old movies or worse tries to develop sequences of films out of one original. It has seldom been successful except for a couple of notable examples like Bourne or Star Wars.

Bill Newcott

I notice more than a few approving comments from fellow film critics here, and I can only add my humble sympathies, Leonard. On the other hand, are you not occasionally curious to stay and see just how bad a movie can get? I know I am. It’s what kept me in my seat for "Aloha" last year. Fortunately I was out of town this week so I did not have to endure "Zoo2," and I’m frankly disappointed to hear from you that it wasn’t good (the early trailer was, I thought, pretty funny). I’ve walked out of just one movie I was set to review (an animated film called "Happily N’ever After," which seemed visually unfinished and, oddly, unscripted). I ended up not writing about it. For the most part, I do think it’s out job to stick it out–but so long as you explain your early departure, as you’ve done here, you’re on solid ground. After all, the most compelling bad review of all time would have to be, "It drove me from the theater!" Here’s hoping you don’t feel compelled to make a habit of it!

HECTOR

I can only assume you have never seen Sex in the City 2 ( In Theaters )

Travis McCrea

I always tell myself that once I started reading a movie review, that I would finish it. I figure even if the hook is dumb maybe it will at least give me some information about the movie.

As I read the first paragraph, though, I realized that this started out with some slight boasting and wasn’t going to give a lot of information. By the second paragraph I knew that it was all a setup and nothing useful would be learned.

Still, I read. and by the third paragraph I realized that it wasn’t going to get better, and proud of myself instead of realizing this review wasn’t for me… I decided to come to the comment section and make this long rant about something I didn’t even actually read.

Kon1984

Funny, if I was to walk out on my job I would be out of a job the next day.

Caleb Phillips

"Why I walked out of Zoolander 2, it wasn’t funny and I didn’t like it" – summarized version.

Speedy

I NEVER read reviews before seeing a movie.
Today I have, and I suspect you have saved me a ticket (Plus one for my wife).
You are one of the few people I would actually listen to a review from. Thanks for the honest read.

Scott

It’s difficult to hold a bad movie against the talent. There are so many reasons a movie may be bad, and if you normally like the writers or the actors, or the director, then you can understand that sometimes a movie, as a mechanism, can just not work. I’m reminded of Roger Ebert’s reviews of North and Deuce Bigalow, European Gigolo. Basically, this movie didn’t work, I know you’ve made better ones, and I know you’ll make better ones in the future. BTW, Adam Sandler: we’re still waiting.

Craig Nelson

Honestly, you deserve a medal for surviving as long as you did.

Johnny

I did the same thing after the first Zoolander. I was appalled at the mindless drivel that Ben Stiller and company delivered to us much like a feces flinging monkey. It’s stupid, not funny unless you’ve been under a rock for the last 30 years and have never seen these gags done over and over to death. The fact that some of hollywood, and musical elites would lend their name to these abominations is beyond me. I don’t know but I’m pretty sure Ben Stiller sold his soul to the devil at a young age for stardom, I think it’s time he sat down and stopped embarrassing himself and boring the rest of us. ~ To quote a hollywood executive; "You keep watching ’em and we’ll keep farting them out!"

haus of azog

when you walk out because you didn’t get the joke. that is all you are describing.

ziddersroofurry

The first one was such a combination of time. place and people that I doubt you could catch that lightning in a bottle twice. It’s like Dumb & Dumber-a lot of why it was so successful was because of the time period it came out during. Zoolander’s characters are so quirky and their shtick so fragile it’s no surprise this film lacks the same gestalt.

Nathan Cooper

Some days you’re cant get into silly comedy. Poor Leonard. I went with some friends and we basked in the high camp shallowness of it all. I did notice we were the only ones laughing in the cinema though!

diane

I have only ever walked out of one performance…………this was a Rolling Stones debut band, it was so crass, so unlike and abominable, I got up, went out amid a look of annoyance from the sheep still sitting, got outside and felt proud, there is nothing but nothing like the original, no sequal or copycat will ever equal or surpass and comparisons will always remain my critic

Kye

I think the ultimate problem is that comedies have such a short window for sequel opportunities than action movies.

Jamirah

Jamirah

steve pugh

i wish i’d walked out of this review after the first sentance. did the submit button have a minimum character count?

RP

"I stay till the bitter end" — I hate to be that guy, but it’s ’til and not till.

Son

So you walked out of a movie with maybe 15 minutes left? Do you want a mf cookie for the sanctimonious stick up your butt?

Katy Perry and Willie Nelson cameos appeared pretty late in the movie so you might have well have suffered through the rest of the picture. After all being a critic such as yourself means seeing things all the way through, quitter.

Johnny

Dunno if I could walk out from a film where Kristen Wiig gets to be THAT THING!

will

Haven’t seen it, but I expect most critics would hate the first too. It’s gloriously dumb and bereft of jokes; it’s only having watched it several times that you find it amusingly quotable. That’s the whole point: it’s dumb. Criticising it as if it were a satire is a wasted effort. Sure it’s not to everyone’s taste, but if you liked the first, why wouldn’t you like the second? Shooting fish in a barrel clearly makes you feel superior, but you’re not the target audience. It’s not surprising this is getting mauled, as the first did too, and it’s not a film to appreciate critically. That’s why the people who like it do.

Reg Cecconi

How dare anybody walk out of a movie they don’t like! This is indeed an outrage!

amanda seraphim

somewhere ed Helms is jumping and celbrating that you walked out "zoolander 2" but went through the whole "vacation" flick.

Alex

Another BS "i’ve never … Until" article. You say you never walked out because you hold onto some undeserved hope but then you can’t completely forgo that approach for this movie. Your "why" is simply not enough because of your previously ascertained rituals. Why didn’t you stick through it with this? How are the bad jokes of this movie worse than the worst jokes of others? Unless you’re saying it’s the worst comedy (film) ever made (or at least that you watched, and if that’s the case then you haven’t watched many) there’s no need for this post.

Michael Mayo

Hey Leonard, I know the feeling. I did that with "Cabin Boy."

Ross

The questions remains… was it better or worse than Laserblast?

Mark

I loved it. Sure, frothy and insubstantial but that was totally authentic to the fashion-world it portrayed.

Morgan Yam

Can’t believe Charlie Rose had a panel for this movie

Penelope

There is no accounting for taste. I walked out of a movie once, too. Just once.

Amir

I just walked out on your review. The moment you said that the original Zoolander was ‘pretty funny’ you lost ALL credibility. You fail to recognize a simple truth, and that is that not every movie needs to be intelligently funny. Sometimes it’s ok for a comedy to be stupid funny. It’s a different beast altogether. You group these two subcategories together when it’s clear that you only like one over the other. Do yourself, and everyone else a favor and don’t review movies that fall into the ‘stupid funny’ category, because you aren’t able to allow yourself to enjoy cheap cracks.

Mitch Connor

Who actually cares which movies you walk out on, or stick for?

Anne

Zoolander 2 was the best fashion documentary everrrr! How could you walk out ? You did miss Derrick Jr. Kid was very funny, in total control of his character and performance.

Carrie

You are right to walk out. I wish I had and spared myself the worst 2 hours of my life. 100% awful

Boolander Ew - Ga.

Agree with Leonard! I felt like I should be admitted to a mental hospital after watching. I think I’ll get my HD Sony video camera & start making movies.

Donovan rust

The movie was really good… I was expecting another dumb and dumb 2 but zoolander 2 really hit the spot

Chad

My wife and I just returned from Zoolander2. This could be the worst film I’ve ever seen. We thought about walking out but the draw of seeing what Will Ferrell did was too strong. This film sucks. Don’t waste your money.

G

Swiss Army Man.

Damian Gibson

This from a man who’s for Entertainment Tonight? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Deb Dee

This movie was terrible and a complete disappointment. The beginning inane scenes with Justin Bieber and the annoying hipster set the tone. And it didn’t get any better.

JT

Ditry Grandpa,Ride Along 2 and Now ZooLander 2. Three movies that are horribly NOT funny at all but to make up for it I saw DEADPOOL and it made up for it because THAT WAS A FUNNY,HYSTERICAL MOVIE!
FINALLY.

jin

Smoke weed every day!

Geoff

Willie Nelson doesn’t appear until late in the movie so someone isn’t being honest here…

Joe Dante

In my dedication to movies I used to sit dutifully all the way through every movie I saw, always hoping I’d find SOMETHING to like… a composition, a performance, the music, whatever…until John Landis and I wandered into SWAMP THING on Hollywood Boulevard. On a single bill, no less! The burlap monster costume didn’t fit, the picture was deadly dull and half the local South Carolina performers were unintelligible. I turned to John and said "Life is too short". And we walked out after half an hour. And ever since I’ve felt completely free to ankle any movie that wasn’t working for me. (Of course if I was a critic reviewing the picture, that would be something else again.)

Michael

This disappoints me Leonard.
I agree the film was stupid (I got plenty of laughs however), but something doesn’t sit right for me if you can’t stick with the film.

Presumably you left before Will Ferrell appeared, and this means you effectively lost the opportunity to say something good about the film, because Ferrell was funny and breathed new life into the story. It was waning in the middle, filled with cameos for the sake of cameos, and then came Will.

I know we don’t pay you, heck, I’m in a completely different country ;) but please, next time, stay.

Stay and say "what an awful film, even Will Ferrell couldn’t save it, but he tried".

FELIPE

I never discuss subjectivity. However, I really don’t know which kind of expectations had Leonard when he went to Zoolander 2. This is the kind of movie that is ridiculous by default, and that is exactly what makes it attractive for some audience. In fact, I can explain in short words why this kind of movies are attractive: You always want to see how far can the foolishness go.
Actually, what I want to do with this comment is to question the purpose of your critic: Did you pretend to carp on this movie without seen it complete?, or did you pretend to start a discussion about the "Walked out" topic?

Matt

I was expecting more of a why other than "puerile and unfunny gags; along with gratuitous cameo appearances".

Ron A. Zajac

I didn’t care for the original Zoolander. I think of Ben Stiller as a kind of minorly tragic figure in the Hollywood system. He actually has talent, yet seldom manages to summon support for a truly fine dramatic or comedic project. I don’t know why, frankly; and suppose that’s just a part of his anti-charm.

The last time I saw him doing what he really does best was his little cameo in an episode of the "Birthday Boys".

jess

Good for you for telling the truth. I felt the same about Anchorman 2. If more critics started being blunt about the worthlessness of many of the mainstream American comedies that roll out every year, maybe we wouldn’t have such paper-thin plots and characters. Just another reason why the real comic writers are all in TV or doing digital content now.

Tony Fidanza

I think Leonard is beginning to value every minute of his time in his Autumn years.

BenStillerIsCrap

I salute you.

Ben Stiller is donkey sh*t.

BenStillerIsCrap

Lol at all the buttmad off fanchildren above LMAO.

The first was crap and this is crappier.

ROFL ROFL ROFL ROFL ROFL.

Nathan

I too walked out of Zoolander 2. It was soooo f***ing s**t. I was so pissed off I paid $15 to go see, I should’ve downloaded then deleted it. Up your butt Ben Stiller, you suck.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *