Latest reviews of new albums:
Zoolander 2
  • Composed by Theodore Shapiro
  • Lakeshore Records / 2016 / 50m

Ben Stiller’s 2001 satire Zoolander was an unlikely success both critically and commercially, its wry look at the fashion industry through the eyes of a dimwitted male model going down very well indeed.  Fifteen years later, here’s the sequel, with Stiller again joined by Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell and a huge list of celebrity cameos, but the largely savage reviews suggest lightning didn’t strike twice.  The first film featured a score by David Arnold – you might remember the one-time film composer – but he hasn’t returned, the reigns being passed instead to Hollywood’s favourite comedy composer Theodore Shapiro.  The first film’s soundtrack album didn’t feature a note of Arnold’s music, but somewhat surprisingly the sequel’s is devoted entirely to the score, which is very entertaining, sweeping through a string of references to other scores, from parodies of low-rent Remote Control overscored drama to Bourne, Bond and even (quite subtly) Morricone westerns.

Shapiro’s actually a really talented composer and he pulls all this off with aplomb, keeping a straight face through the comedy but finding wit in the way he brings in some of those references –  the opening “Bieber Chase” with its frantic action followed by wailing woman, the Jablonsky/Djawadi parody of “Who Was Derek Zoolander?” which could be from a Transformers score only it’s probably too good, later on even a HORN OF DOOM which for once induces a smile rather than a grimace.  But what distinguishes the score is the genuinely good action material that punctuates all this – “Mugatu’s Escape” is a first-rate piece of modern action music which would grace a more serious film.  The album’s probably a little longer than it really needs to be, but there’s a lot here to enjoy and for all the homage and parody, it’s a smooth and consistent listen.  Shapiro probably doesn’t get the attention his talent warrants, no doubt because of the genre of film most of his higher-profile scores are written for; Zoolander 2 is really one worth taking a chance on.

Rating: *** 1/2 | |

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