In this irreverent comedy, a failed actor-turned-worse-high-school-drama-teacher rallies his Tucson, AZ students as he conceives and stages politically incorrect musical sequel to Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Dana Marschz is a failed actor and recovering alcoholic who's moved to Tucson to teach high school drama, where he's plagued by bad reviews, student indifference, budget woes (he and his wife, who is trying to get pregnant, take in a boarder), and his own teaching limitations. Because the other electives are closed, he finds himself with a large class of seeming gang-bangers, and the principal informs him that drama will be cut next trimester. On the advice of a student reviewer, Dana decides to stage his own play, a sequel to "Hamlet" in which the prince and Jesus, with the use of a time machine, try to save Gertrude and Ophelia. Can Dana for once pull something off? Written by
I enjoyed Steve Coogan's performance earlier this Summer in "Tropic Thunder", where he played a supporting role as the hapless movie director, and many of his earlier works.
In "Hamlet 2", he plays the lead role, as a high school drama teacher in Tucson, AR, where he is trying to teach his under-achieving students acting, without much success. The movie begins with a school play rendition of "Erin Brockovich", which was unintentionally hilarious. The drama critic for the school newspaper panned the play, which drives Coogan nuts. The interaction between Coogan & the drama critic is one of the high points of the film. The critic looks like he's about 11 years old, but Coogan hangs on his every word. After providing some sage advice to Coogan, the critic excuses himself to "go clean the gerbil cage". Then the school principal informs Coogan that funding for his drama program has been ended, and he'll need to find a new job. Coogan comes up with the idea to save the program by putting on a brilliant new play, written by himself, called "Hamlet 2".
There were many scenes that were excellent and hilarious. Elizabeth Shue had a major role (playing herself), which was very funny.
If you've seen Steve Coogan comedies before, such as "24 Hour Party People" or "Tristam Shandy", you are familiar with his brand of humor. If you liked that sort of movie, you'll like this. Even if you didn't care for either of those films, you might want to take a chance anyway. It's a clever comedy & well worth checking out.
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