Movie Name: Hamlet 2
Studio: L+E Pictures
Release Date(s): January 21, 2008 (Sundance Film Festival)/August 22, 2008 (US)
MPAA Rating: R
Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan) is a true actor. He dreams of more but teaches students in Tucson, Arizona by adapting popular movies. With his wife Brie (Catherine Keener) pressuring him to have a child and a roommate named Gary (David Arquette) that he hates, Dana finds his life even more challenged when his class size expands and the school threatens to cancel drama. After watching Dangerous Minds, Dana knows what he must do. Dana makes a last ditch effort to save drama by rallying the class putting on a play…Hamlet 2! Hamlet 2 could be his big hit or his failure.
Written and directed by Andrew Fleming (with additional writing by Pam Brady), Hamlet 2 is a satirical comedy. The movie premiered at Sundance and had a limited release (with a poor return on the price of purchase). The movie received mixed review from critics.
I actually saw Hamlet 2 in the theater. The trailers and previews of the film really hooked me. The movie unfortunately didn’t live up to the hype. A second viewing of the movie was slightly better due to the lowered expectations.
The movie generally goes for surreal, but it is unbalanced. It can’t decide if it is completely surreal or just a little surreal. If a better balance had been figured out by the writers, the movie would have been better.
Coogan also provides a challenge because I’ve never gotten into him as a comedian. I also had really looked forward to 24 Hour Party People and had been disappointed. Though Coogan leaves me somewhat unmoved, he’s surrounded by some good supporting characters played by Catherine Keener, Amy Poehler, David Arquet, Marshall Bell, Skylar Astin, and Elizabeth Shue playing herself as a jaded actress (as one of the better parts of the film).
The real star of the movie (and what is good) is Hamlet 2. I wish more of the movie had been the play. “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” was a perfect joke for movie (and the film high point), but a lot of the other parts of the play seem awesome and it leaves you wanting more and more of Hamlet 2.
Hamlet 2 was a disappointment, but it is better on a second viewing. The movie is still imperfect but it does have its moments. Over the years it has gained a bit of a cult following so I’d love to see Hamlet 3 someday…of course the third in a trilogy is always the weakest!