August 30, 2008 by  

Hamlet 2


Hamlet 2

Steve Coogan stars in "Hamlet 2" as Dana Marschz, a Tucson high school drama teacher.

Starring: Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, Joseph Julian Soria
Directed by: Andrew Fleming (“Nancy Drew”)
Written by: Andrew Fleming (“The Craft”) and Pam Brady (“Hot Rod”)

“Hamlet 2” is so politically incorrect, it makes “Springtime for Hitler” from “The Producers” sound suitable for preschoolers to sing.

The film begins and ends with Steve Coogan as Dana Marschz, a Tucson high school drama teacher, who proves that “if you can’t do, teach” wasn’t just a saying created to piss off teachers. Dana hasn’t had much luck as an actor other than the few infomercials and herpes commercials he’s starred in.

He falls back on teaching drama despite being the laughing stock of the entire school for the horrid plays he writes, produces and directs. Adapting “Erin Brockovich” as a stage production really isn’t a great way to show the school that they should keep funding the program.

It really doesn’t matter anyway. Dana only has two high-spirited students in his class, and it seems like the principal is about to drop the bomb on theater unless they start making some worthwhile plays. When the new school year begins, however, Dana, who is having some slightly dysfunctional problems at home with his wife (Catherine Keener), is surprised when his drama class is filled to maximum capacity with new students. Unfortunately, the mostly-Latino group of kids are only there because they couldn’t take the courses they really wanted so were funneled into drama to slack off.

But when Dana decides to write a sequel to William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” the students must rise up against the school and community who become infuriated with the blasphemy-filled script Dana has written for the them to perform.

While director/writer Andrew Fleming pulls no stops, a few gags go a bit long before falling flat. Still, there is enough wickedness and total lack of morality (a lot of it hilarious) that will have you asking why Steve Coogan isn’t in more mainstream comedies (he is in “Tropic Thunder,” of course). With “Hamlet 2” Coogan has proven that British comedy sometimes does translate well for us American heathens.

Grade: B

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