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Delightful, understated, FUNNY comedy
thegregk17 May 2008
Ah, how refreshing to find a comedy that isn't just gross-out gags, sentimental chick flick trash, or predictable Hollywood tripe... while Hamlet 2 isn't brilliant, and it isn't the funniest thing I've seen ever, it certainly carries its own, and this is largely in part due to Steve Coogan's performance.

Coogan is amazing as the fruity drama teacher who's life is falling apart. His shows are getting panned by a snarky underclassman, his marriage is falling apart, and he is totally uninspired. Through a series of events, he has an all-out crisis, but in a clever switch on the teacher inspires the students genre (Stand and Deliver, Higher Education), the students rally in their own way to help him create his masterpiece - Hamlet 2.

Hamlet 2 is ferociously politically incorrect, and this leads to the principal and some members of the community to try to close down the show, the ACLU (Amy Poehler!) gets involved, and the final performance of the show is a little bit mind blowing... ah, Sexy Jesus.

Yes, this is stuff we've all seen before, but Coogan's performance and his supporting cast, along with solid writing make this a Hollywood comedy that is actually funny.

Since it doesn't have any big stars, and it is a bit atypical, Hamlet 2 will probably fall by the wayside, but don't miss it if you've got the chance - there is hope for comedy yet!
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Pretty Funny
jmsullivan0023 August 2008
I also was expecting something raunchy like South Park or Team America and it wasn't. But it was really entertaining. The bad reviews for this movie say stuff about character development...who cares. You should have known thats not the type of movie this was before you went and saw it then came immediately to your computer to blast it. I think people are too critical on movies lately; you don't have to be moved or have life altering epiphanies after seeing a movie. A movie can just be something that makes you laugh for two hours that you don't have to think too much about and thats what I found in this movie. I found it witty and clever; and I would recommend it.
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"Everyone has rain gutters!"
Dan1863Sickles31 August 2008
A loser drama teacher with no hope left of a real acting career decides to gamble it all with a controversial new play. Through a bizarre combination of circumstances, a gang of tough Latinos and a handful of nerdy white theater kids join forces to help him realize his dream.

So much is going on in this incredible movie. The script is a rag-bag of old SOUTH PARK gags, (writer Pam Brady worked with Matt Stone and Trey Parker for many years) but it's spiced up with bizarre slapstick moments, celebrity cameos, and some real singing and dancing by a surprisingly charismatic and sexy cast of teen unknowns.

Steve Coogan is the glue that really holds this thing together. Even when the gags fall flat, he has a way of injecting genuine humor into the weirdest situations. "Everyone has rain gutters!" he shouts at a wealthy Mexican couple, for no reason at all. And when he's blocked at the typewriter, trying to write a masterpiece, he takes one look at his adorable pet cat and shouts, "What's your problem?" So stupid on paper, but in the film he makes it hilarious. Coogan has the comic genius of Gene Wilder in classics like YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, combined with the underdog appeal of Sylvester Stallone in the original classic ROCKY.

If I have any complaints about this film, it's that we don't see nearly enough of the talented teen actors who actually put on the play. I loved it when the prim and proper Epiphany threw herself into the arms of the sexy Mexican boy she'd been arguing with all through the movie, but couldn't there have been a little more development there? In a similar way, I would have liked it more if all the kids had gotten a bit more time to show off their acting skills, since it's obvious all of them are crazy about the stage.

HAMLET 2 makes a big joke out of referencing inspirational teacher movies like DANGEROUS MINDS and MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS, but it's really much more similar to that old teen television show FAME. Or to those old Judy Garland movies where someone says, "hey, kids, let's put on a show!" It also has an irreverent, sophisticated sparkle that reminds me of Shakespeare IN LOVE. Not only is there the obvious connection of making Great Literature into lively entertainment, but there's the sense that the entire film is really a love letter to actors and acting as a profession. That's an engaging premise, especially when you see so much bright young talent being revealed in such unexpected ways.

Go to this movie expecting anything and everything -- you won't be disappointed.
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This Movie Brightened My Day
Manny the Movie Guy9 August 2008
I had to drive all the way from Palm Springs to Los Angeles to watch "Hamlet 2." Traffic drama notwithstanding, the 2-hour trek is all worth it! I laughed out loud watching this film, which is really a parody of a tragedy. Here are the pluses: Steve Coogan -- he anchors this film from start to finish. He embodies his optimistic loser role. And those great, broad physical comedy? Wow!

Catherine Keener -- only she can lift a one-dimensional role into a living, breathing, likable bitch :)

Elizabeth Shue -- I heard that she injected a lot of self-deprecating scenes into her role, very UN-Hollywood of her!

Musical Scenes -- it's ironic that the play, supposed to be the worst play ever, is the focal point and the bright, shining light of the film.

The "high school" cast -- they each embody stereotypes, and then collectively break through the norms of their roles.

And you know? This is not your "white teacher goes to the ghetto to teach the students life-affirming lessons" film. I applaud the movie for recognizing that, and going one step further.

Irreverent wit -- if you like the UN-PC qualities of South Park, you will love this film!

The only minuses I can think of are not enough character development, specially among the kids in school, and Keneer's twist, while predictable, still feels off-center and trite.

But trust me, you'll laugh and have a great time! I went to see "Hamlet 2" with a friend of mine who's not into the broad comedy genre and fell in love with the movie!

Honestly? The only folks who will hate this film are the ones who live in Tucson, Arizona :)
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Coogan's US breakthrough - Refreshing Comedy!
seth_the_wampyre30 August 2008
Damn. This was funny. I love Steve Googan from all his UK performances ans finally he was given a proper vehicle to make US audiences laugh out loud. What made this so funny was its satire of traditional dramatic elements in movies (Stand and Deliver, etc), as well as its blatant parody of the quickly burned out "Indie Darling" comedies like "Little Miss Sunshine" et al. Sure, the finale's song wasn't the best of the lot (although I still find myself singing it over a week later!) but the rest of the gags and songs (especially the "Face" song!) were classic.

It was refreshing to see a screwball comedy that doesn't rely on toilet humor or "realistic" scenarios to drive a joke home. This was just pure silly fun, ans Coogan can pull that off with the best of them, if not better.
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Good "Off the Wall" Type of Comedy
J_Trex8 September 2008
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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Hamlet 2
cultfilmfan30 August 2008
Hamlet 2 despite the title is not a sequel to William Shakespeare's famous play, or the many film versions based on the play. Instead, Hamlet 2 is a comedy about a very unorthodox drama teacher named Dana Marschz, who after never being able to become a successful actor himself, has later had to settle for being a high school drama teacher. With two dedicated returning drama students and a class full of new faces, who do not really care about acting, Dana is inspired to write a sequel to William Shakespeare's Hamlet and get the class motivated and to perform it. Along the way, the somewhat controversial subject matter of the new play gets Dana a lot of publicity, but he insists that the show must go on. Hamlet 2 is a pretty good satire of the inspirational teacher films that have been big for the last twenty years, or so, and it was kind of a refreshing change to have a film with those elements in it, but also lampooning it and getting as satirical and far fetched with it as they can possibly go. The film also gets the actors involved to act really badly to add camp to this film and further emphasize the satirical nature of it. All the actors are playing B movie versions of themselves, but they still do a really good job of it. Hamlet 2 is a smaller scale film and unfortunately will probably not do as well as some of this summer's other comedies, but for those who were lucky enough to have a theatre near them playing it, I would highly recommend it. Like a lot of independent comedies of recent years, Hamlet 2 is very quirky, offbeat and different. I think that is what I liked so much about it. I do admit that there were some pretty good mainstream comedies that have come out this summer, but the originality and the fact that this film was so over the top, but in a purely entertaining and goofy way I think I may have had just as much fun watching this film as some of the other really good films of this year. There are also some catchy and very humorous musical numbers in the film as well plus a cameo which I will not give away, but is actually written quite brilliantly. I realize that there is some material in this film that some people may find offensive, or consider debatable content, but I personally was not offended by it at all. I don't think that the things it poked fun at were ever done in a really nasty, or disrespectful way. I myself thought that yes some things were being parodied, but in almost such an innocent way (it may not seem so, but believe me it's true) that I found it really hard to be offended by this film at all. I really appreciated the offbeat and quirky humour of the film, the overacting that suited the film just fine and the catchy musical numbers which I didn't find offensive for the same reasons as I stated above. This film may be a bit too different for some people's tastes, but like a rare, or exotic food it will find an audience that will appreciate it for what it is and this was certainly the case for me. One of the most entertaining, original and best comedies of the year so far.
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Surprisingly Great Comedy - Elisabeth Shue is Marvelous!
sundevil2726 January 2008
Screened this surprise comedy gem at Sundance 2008, and judging from the reaction of festival goers this is the best of the fest. The story is about Dana Marschz (Coogan) who is a complete and utter failure as an actor. As such the only gig he can get is teaching drama at a low funded Tuscon, Az high school. His wife (Keener) isn't too happy with the living conditions which includes little money and a random roomie (Arquette) to help pay the bills. As luck would have it though Dana's life is about to change. His drama class unexpectedly inherits a bunch of misfit kids who need more then a little motivation, then Dana has a chance encounter with the goddess that is Elisabeth Shue who now lives in Tuscon and works as a nurse because she is sick of Hollywood. To top things off Dana has just one last chance at creating a masterpiece before the curtain comes down for the final time. By shear will and a good bit of madness Dana creates Hamlet 2, which very well could be the most horrible play in human existence. Short on talent but strong on enthusiasm the group of misfit students come together to bring to life Dana's opus. With both disastrous and beautiful results Dana's masterpiece thrills and amazes in what can only be called a very interesting movie going experience.

I don't want to over hype the film, its certainly not Little Miss Sunshine, but it can hold its own with the smart and hip comedies that we've come to expect from the indie circuit. Steven Coogan finally has his vehicle to break through to the American cinema and it should definitely increase all our awareness of his comedic genius. More unexpectedly though the best part of the show is Elisabeth Shue who is so fantastic playing a parody of herself. Certainly one of my favorite on screen performances in a long while. Aside from the actors, you can expect a nifty little group of musical sequences that are both funny and actually performed quite well by the talented young folks in the flick. Movie should work on all levels, there is some questionable material, but if you don't take risks in comedy you aren't going anywhere new which is exactly why this is a comedy worth watching.
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Not For The Feint Of Heart
MiamiHEATfan77731 August 2008
In a year punctuated with very funny movies, "Hamlet 2" stands out as the most peculiar and comedically risky. Its style of humor is an almost indescribable mixture of social satire, broad slapstick, and dry irony. I've seen it twice, seven months apart, and while I laughed through most of it both times, I can also see how some viewers will come away scratching their heads and wondering what's supposed to be so funny.

The star is Steve Coogan, a beloved British comedian who still isn't being hailed as a genius in the United States. (Meanwhile, Dane Cook gets one movie deal after another.) He plays Dana Marschz, a mostly untalented actor who endured a number of humiliating show-biz gigs before giving up and moving to Tucson, Ariz. ("Where dreams go to die"). Now he is the drama teacher at West Mesa High School, specializing in stage adaptations of popular movies like "Erin Brockovich," which he writes himself and which invariably must be two-person shows because he only has two students in his class. One, a girl named Epiphany (Phoebe Strole), is a typical drama queen; the other, Rand (Skylar Astin), idolizes, and is probably in love with, Mr. Marschz.

After budget cutbacks result in the cancellation of most other electives, Dana's class is suddenly full of students, though most of them have little interest in being there. Determined to be an inspiring educator like the ones he's seen in "Dead Poet's Society" and "Mr. Holland's Opus," Dana tries to reach out to these kids, who are all Latino and, Dana assumes, from the wrong side of town. Dana is a lot like Michael Scott from "The Office": unaware of his own imbecility and eager to show everyone how gifted he is, despite not having any gifts.

Soon the budget cutbacks, mixed with a string of scorching reviews from the school paper's theater critic, threaten to shut down the drama program, too. Dana has one last chance to stage a show that will raise money and awareness. It has to be a dozy. It has to be memorable. He settles on an original script he's been writing, a little thing called "Hamlet 2." That title is arbitrary, perhaps chosen to give the movie a hook. ("'Hamlet 2'?! Now that sounds like a crazy comedy I should definitely go see!") What Dana Marschz writes only begins with Hamlet (who escapes death via a time machine) and becomes more accurately a musical investigation into Dana's own childhood traumas and his unresolved issues with his father. We see snippets of it in rehearsals and a huge chunk of it at the end of the film, when the play is staged before a shocked audience. Hamlet isn't the only literary figure of note to be included, either -- Jesus is here, too, a hip Jesus who moonwalks on water and scores big with the modern generation.

Before we get there, though, there is controversy as the community learns about the edgy elements of Dana's show. The ACLU steps in (kudos to Amy Poehler for a brief but memorable turn as the group's humorless representative), and Dana experiences massive self-doubt. He is not helped by his hilariously unsupportive wife, Brie, played with all the scathing sarcasm and apathy that the great Catherine Keener can muster (which is considerable, as you know if you've seen Catherine Keener in almost anything). Ultimately, the kids realize the lesson Dana has taught them: "It doesn't matter how much talent we lack, as long as we have enthusiasm." There are elements of several different kinds of movies (the Inspiring Teacher Drama, the Teen Comedy, the Let's Put On a Show! Musical, etc.), all of them relentlessly and absurdly satirized in a screenplay by Pam Brady, a "South Park" collaborator who also co-wrote the "South Park" movie and "Team America: World Police." Her work here is co-credited with the film's director, Andrew Fleming, who made 1999's under-seen political comedy "Dick" and last year's better-than-you'd-think "Nancy Drew." Dana Marschz (that's pronounced with three syllables, "Mar-zh-ce") is an oblivious, "Waiting for Guffman" type, the sort of character who never does realize what a loser he is. I'd be hard-pressed to identify any unifying theme to the film's whimsy, any connective tissue between the various things it makes fun of. Why do Dana and Brie have a dull boarder (David Arquette) living with them? Why does Elisabeth Shue appear as herself, tired of Hollywood and now working in Tucson as a nurse at a fertility clinic? Because it's odd and bemusing, that's why.

When "Hamlet 2" is finally performed, the audience is initially outraged by the portrayal of Jesus (played by Dana, looking strangely like "Weird Al" Yankovic), as well as the show's other highly offensive sexual material. Then they come to see that the show means no disrespect, that it's a commentary on stuff, and the scandalous nature of it is necessary to make its point. They say, "Oh, I get it!" But I think the joke is that they're wrong -- there ISN'T any deeper, more honorable message in it. There's nothing to get. Though Dana earnestly believes he's making a valid point, I think his show -- that is to say, the movie -- is being sacrilegious and dirty solely for laughs, a way of poking fun at how high-minded Hollywood satirists like to do something taboo while claiming to have noble purposes for it. (See: the recent controversy surrounding "Tropic Thunder" and the word "retard.") Many humorists are edgy just for the sake of being edgy, and "Hamlet 2" makes fun of them by doing the same thing, only with self-awareness.
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Old teacher makes good genre never felt this good.
Davidon806 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
There's so much to recommend in this movie, the script is sharp, the jokes are solid, the direction is well paced but most importantly Steve Coogan is finally showing signs of becoming a real comedic character actor as oppose to his own varied persona.

The movie is about a failed actor, Dana Marshz, who is in love with the craft of acting, in the classical sense of the method actor. Failing as an actor he turns to teaching, and is equally as bad at this. All the whilst his wife is sleeping with the lodger and he is roller blading to work to save money. Dana is then forced to teach a group of Latinos who have chosen to study drama because their favourite subjects have all been cancelled. Failing to inspire them with his knowledge of acting, he inadvertently gets their attention when drama is cancelled and he decides to take matters into his own hands by saving drama with a production of Hamlet 2 the sequel.

This movie could have been an absolute bomb, but what it manages to do is ridicule every genre that we expect it to be. For example we see the ridiculing of the cross cultural genre in the Latinos meets white middle America, we see the teacher take on the school and parents against the odds, we see the teacher inspire the student genre. Everything from Dangerous Minds to Dead Poet's society is turned squarely on it's head and the result is pure hilarity.

Steve Coogan does a great job as the superficial do gooder who could never get a break, I've been a fan of Coogan since his Alan Partridge days and always thought he was a true comic. Though his move to the U.S has been hit and miss with movies such 80 days around the world and Alibi not really flexing his true capabilities. It seems that in Hamlet 2 he has found that perfect balance between facial contortion humour and perfectly delivered lines. This is a career high for Coogan and I hope this is the way forward for him as he begins to fill his full potential as a comedian for our time.
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A brilliant comedy
Argemaluco31 December 2008
The satire is my favourite type of comedy because it is a tool for saying interesting things using intelligence and,of course,humor.Unfortunately,on recent years,that difficult type of comedy has been used by stupid filmmakers in some of the most intolerable "comedies" from this decade,like Date Movie,Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans.But,we never have to loose our hope,because there will always be some occult joys in the satire sub-genus,like now Hamlet 2.This is an excellent comedy which goes much more far away than making us laugh,pointing obvious things on an original way and giving important messages about people.This hilarious comedy makes a satire of a movie genre which has always existed but which has had a kind of resurrection in the last years : the teacher who finds a way to inspire on his students the intellect,the self-love and other aspects.But the great screenplay does not stop there because its acid and critic style also examines on a very funny way,aspects like the politic,the popular culture and the religion.The excellent comedian Steve Coogan has not found popularity outside his native England (Hollywood has wasted his big talent with small roles in films like Tropic Thunder and Night at the Museum).But,on this movie,Coogan is not wasted at all and he brings a magnificent performance,making his character very memorable.On the supporting cast,we have solid performances from Elisabeth Shue,Skylar Astin and the great Catherine Keener.The only fail I found on this movie is the ending,which was a little bit abrupt by my point of view.In spite of that minor fail,Hamlet 2 is an excellent comedy which is very entertaining and brutally incisive.One of the best movies from 2008.
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One of the Funniest Movies of... EVER!
irken5810 September 2008
Just from the get go, the premise of the story is hilarious, something that anyone can laugh at! However, as the story develops and the humor builds up, it turns into a hilarious film! Sure, it may not be appropriate to some people, especially Christians, but that doesn't mean you have to write a bad review about something that offended you! I live in Tucson, Arizona and I thought the whole concept of "where dreams go to die" is amazingly hilarious! There were some slow parts in the film, I'll give you that, but something has to offend at something in order to make a genuine comedy. Take Superbad for instance, it makes fun of underage drinking and the sex appeal of teenagers! Now, why hasn't anyone thought this was bad, but when a "sexy" Jesus appears on the screen, all hell breaks loose? Anyway, in conclusion, one of the BEST movies I have ever seen, Steve Coogan is amazing! So everyone should STOP writing bad reviews just because Jesus sang a damn song! Get over it, and grow up!
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Seeing the trailer ruined the movie for me.
thebrighteyes27 August 2008
Hamlet 2 (2008) had an ad campaign that seemed to focus on the fact that it was from the co-writer of South Park, but they are not referring to Matt Stone or Trey Parker (who had absolutely nothing to do with this movie). They are talking about Pam Brady who mostly produces the show, but has some co-writing credits on a couple of the episodes and on the South Park movie. So, if you're going into this expecting something like Orgazmo or Team America, then you'll probably be disappointed.

That being said, the movie is still pretty clever and funny. Aside from a slow beginning, an annoying amount of pratfalls, and two completely pointless characters (played by Catherine Keener David Arquette), it's a pretty funny movie.

Unfortunately this is one of those movies where the funniest parts are spoiled by the trailer. My suggestion would be to skip the theatrical release and wait for it to come out on DVD. By that time, you probably will have forgotten the ad campaign, and you'll really be able to enjoy it.
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gca287 April 2009
As someone who would watch Steve Coogan in almost anything and as an English student, I was really looking forward to this. "A comedy about a lousy theatre teacher who puts on a sequel to Hamlet? How could it miss?", I thought. If the film had focused more on the play instead of trying to be a mish-mash of Dangerous Minds, School of Rock and any number of misguided comedies about naive man-children, it would've been fairly awesome. Instead the film tries too hard to be too many things and fails to do any of them well.

Firstly, what's up with Coogan's accent? Personally I would've preferred it if he played a British teacher in an American school (if nothing else, it would've made the Shakespeare connection funnier), but instead he puts on an admittedly passable American accent that I found unnecessary and jarring. His performance is fantastic besides that one quibble, although he isn't given much to work with.

I fully agree with some of the other commenters when they say that Catherine Keener and David Arquette are pointless here, which is a shame as I love Keener in movies like Living in Oblivion and 40 Year Old Virgin, but she is totally wasted here as a relentless shrew. In fact, apart from the scene where Elizabeth Shue explains her reasons for leaving acting, Coogan's is the only really good performance here, with the supporting cast being mostly indistinguishable.

The aspects of the plot to do with the drama class (ie. most of the plot) are especially banal and forced. I would've enjoyed it more if, instead of being landed with a group of "troubled teens" (can we please rest this dusty old cliché for a damn change?), Coogan had a class of students like the two suck-ups he has at the start. Riffing on Dangerous Minds just gives the film a very cheesy edge, when a film about a dedicated drama class putting on a horrible play would be far more entertaining than an awkward attempt at commentary on arts funding in public schools.

Speaking of the plot, the main thing that stopped me from enjoying this film was the fact that practically every aspect of the plot seemed half-written. Coogan's students fall into line for no concrete reason other than narrative convenience, there seems to be no reason why his marriage is still somewhat intact and most of the jokes are stilted and unfunny.

I tried really hard to like this, but ultimately it just wasn't good enough. A let-down.
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A Sweet and Hilarious Comedy
jokrysu31 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I am a bit befuddled by all the labels of "disappointment" and bad reviews this movie has received over its release. I saw it expecting to be disappointed, but was instead charmed and laughing so hard that my cheeks hurt. In the end, I have to assume that this film has suffered from a bad ad campaign. First of all: No this is not a South Park movie. There are, however, hysterical elements that are obviously derived from a South Park sense of humor such as Refuge In Audacity (getting away with outrageous acts by making them overblown to the point of absurdity, thank you tvtropes.org) and the running gag with the character Yolanda. Second: Yes, many of the best jokes were spoiled by the trailers. This is a problem with advertising for comedies in general, however, and has little to do with how good the movie is. Personally, I thought Tropic Thunder suffered far more from the trailers ruining the best parts than Hamlet 2.

At the story's heart, though, is really an ode to theatre. The movie takes on how absolutely ridiculous acting, inspirational movies, controversial censorship, and musicals really all are. I can see why it was so popular at Sundance and generated such buzz. This is a comedy that appeals to anyone who has dealt with high school drama and dreams of Broadway.

While it may not be as focused and successful as, say, School of Rock was, the movie was incredible fun. A lot of that fun came from being with a group of theatre nerds and musical addicts. We laughed and clapped at every moment of Steve Coogan's brilliance (even when the story lagged, you can't say he wasn't dedicated and went full force with every bit) and overjoyed at trying to pick apart the musicals referenced in the final sequence. There were references to at least Grease, Rent, Tick Tick Boom, etc. etc. in addition to the obvious Jesus Christ Superstar.

The flaws are really in the pacing, with the beginning "Acts" moving too slowly and going off in too many directions. Still, for a theatre geek like me who will gladly laugh at acting while simultaneously loving it, Hamlet 2 was a real treat. A lot of the film focuses on that delicious refuge in audacity and absurdity, but does delve into deeper emotion with the theme of "my life is a parody of a tragedy." It's a theme other films like Be Kind Rewind portrayed, that art is ridiculous and most of us will never win any Oscars (sorry, I mean Tonys), but we do it anyway. My group of friends and I came out of the theatre wishing we could put on a production of Hamlet 2 and were making plans to find the soundtrack.
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This Poor Movie.
beatcamel1 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This poor movie. Another premised based bait-and-switch, a'la Be Kind Rewind. I'll explain. You hear about "Be Kind Rewind", two video store guys have to remake all kinds of Hollywood classics, and Michel Gondry is directing! This is going to be a beautiful visual experience with two solid comedic actors at the helm! Then you go and see it and it turns out that the actual movie making part of the film is like 10 minutes and that most of the film is Danny Glover walking around talking about "community". You hear about "Hamlet 2" and you think, "Woah! That sounds hilarious! A sequel to Hamlet! I can't wait to see how they figure that one out!" Then you go and see it and it turns out that the movie is actually about this guy, who is played to absolute perfection by Steve Coogan who I could watch read the phone book if someone would just bloody film it, and he's got issues with his dad and there's maybe some kind of storyline thing going on with his wife and oh he's got all these troubled kids to teach suddenly because they cut the other electives at his Arizona High School. The problem that runs throughout the film is that it plays like half of it is missing. Things are referenced or mentioned that were never explained. David Arquette is a body builder? Apparently. But you wouldn't know except from his line while departing the film altogether regarding a protein shake in the fridge while he carries his vitamin powders. Oh that kid who does the technical stuff is some kind of acid king/drug dealer/party planner? Great, but don't tell us that or explain it to us until the film is half over suddenly have people talking about him like he's been a major character this whole time. Hey here's some title cards to break up the film, whoops, now we inexplicably have stopped using them. Hey, here's a narrator narrating, whoops, now he's inexplicably disappeared from the film as well! This film also can't tell if it wants to be a foul mouthed hard R rated comedy or if it wants to be an inspirational pg13 comedy, its too yucky high school inspirational (the bad kids come together to do something really great and end up liking their teacher they were formerly mean to, oh and their behavior change is completely and totally inexplicable, most of the things in this movie are inexplicable and not in a good David Lynch kind of way, but in a , "Man, no one paid attention to editing this did they?" kind of way) to be a hard R comedy and it's too foul mouthed and r rated to be an inspirational high school movie. AND the worst thing is that the whole big build up, about Hamlet bleepin' 2 is that you barely see any of the play, the trailer makes it look like there are two parts to the film, they decide to put on the play and then they put it on. But in reality the actual play is just about the last 10 minutes and yes, the stuff we see is funny, but it's barely anything at all. So much humor could've been pulled from the brilliant premise that is Hamlet 2, but instead it's glossed over, relying on "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" and "Raped in The Face" to carry the brunt of the musical humor, other than that, it's clunky and forced. Everything in this movie is half a**ed except for Steve Coogan's performance. The editing, the writing, all really disappointing for such a smart premise. All that being said, I did laugh quite a bit, but the incredibly poor quality of the film itself was distracting. Another film killed by it's all too apparent desire to be a "cult classic". If this film had had no budget and was made independently it might be an immortal piece of comedy gold, coming from some random film weirdo's twisted psyche, but instead it's desperately pandering to the void left by the death of independent film in America. Watch it on DVD while doing something else.
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Walk In Late...Very Late
nelsonbig23 June 2008
The theatres should charge only a quarter of the price for this movie. Only the last half hour was entertaining.

It fails at engaging the audience with any of the characters. One moment, students are "thugs", the next scene they're rehearsing lines. No buildup.

The comedic timing is off as well. A gag is drawn on after it should have been over a few lines back. Steve Coogan's character is unbearably dry and, again, is not engaging whatsoever.

Catherine Keener is warm as she is in other films. However, her role along with David Arquette's are absolutely useless in this film.

On a lighter note, the play (when they finally get to it) is very entertaining. Rock Me Sexy Jesus is ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS and catchy. The other songs are very fun too. It was well thought out and played. Sad to say, it wasn't enough.

It seems to me that the writers had this great idea for a whimsical play. However, the play itself would never fly with the production company. So they decided to write this horrendous storyline and package this great play with it. Unfortunately, the drabness of said packaging leaves one frustrated with the lack of Hamlet 2 in Hamlet 2.
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Be 2 or not to be 2
Kristine29 August 2008
OK, every trailer I have seen on TV for Hamlet 2, you see the big reviews of "Hilerious!" or "One of the year's best comedies!", so I got to see Hamlet 2 yesterday and this was seriously one of the strangest films I have seen and had the strangest humor. While it did make me laugh, I will never deny it that, but it's so over the top that there are some moments where you just raise one eye brow and scratch your head. This was written by one of the writers from South Park, normally you'd think that means it's going to be a mega hit with great comedic writing, however some of the movie drags on and some of the jokes are also more scary than funny. But I'm not completely dissing Hamlet 2, there are some genuinely funny moments that really made me laugh out loud. The story is pretty ridicules, but it's much better than most comedies that are very predictable and have no originality.

Dana Marschz is a failed actor turned high school drama teacher, a drama teacher that makes horrible plays, he has passion for it, but has no idea how to get the motivation from his students. He has a crazy alcoholic wife at home with some random guy who is their room mate, and his drama program is being threatened in being taken away due to financial set backs. But Dana isn't giving up, he and his class are going to perform a play that he has written, Hamlet 2, the most offensive play in the world where nothing is off limits and he doesn't care what people say, he and the students over come all the protest to put on this very strange play.

Hamlet 2, let's just put it this way, you really need a certain sense of humor to get into it, this is not your typical comedy that everyone is going to laugh at. I'm very open to different comedies and know when there are moments to laugh, but I also know when there are some things that are just a little over the top. Steve Coogen is a decent lead actor, but there wasn't anything so special that stood out about him. So over all, I would say if you are open minded to comedies, you might get into this, there are some good parts, but like I said this has some very strange and demented jokes, so I'm just on the line with liking it and forgetting about it.

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Some find it offensive, some find it hilarious.
Sirus_the_Virus15 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I had a good time with Hamlet 2. An offensive film that has laughs throughout the entire film. I will admit that it is offensive, but it's a great movie. The film has a great cast and it is absolutely ridiculous.

Hamlet 2 is the story of Dana Marsh, a has been drama teacher(played by Steve Coogan, who is fantastic in this film). He is a bit of a loser. His drama class is full of Mexicans. He soon comes up with a story for Hamlet 2. Which is the most offensive play you will ever see. I am not going to go into anything else about the plot. Because the entire film is funny.

Hamlet 2 is insanely hilarious. I hope you will enjoy it just as much as I did. Because Hamlet 2 is a ton of fun and I think you should look for it on DVD.It's a little known film that I think most will like unless you're one of those really serious people who won't laugh at anything. Steve Coogan's breakthrough performance really is a breakthrough. I liked Elizabeth Shue's performance and I really liked the entire film. It is a little known comedy gem. Big thumbs up and I think you should look for it on DVD.
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Rock Me Sexy Jesus!!
jctundis1 May 2009
The biggest surprise of my weekend was Hamlet 2. It's a stupid concept that went all the way round back to genius again. Great movie. Hilarious performances from Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener and Elisabeth Shue. Clever when it needed to be, sincere at times, and out and out stupid-funny in the best way at other times.

I guess a big concern with this movie is mindless vulgarity, which I personally have no problem with, but there's really none of that here. Sure, the main writer worked on South Park: Bigger Longer Uncut, and Team America - but Hamlet 2 has a lo more charm.

I gave it a 9. It does what a comedy is supposed to do - made me laugh out loud several times!
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ridiculionius21 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
To start, let me say that if you don't like comedy that relies heavily on profanity, you won't like this movie. If you don't like satire and social commentary that is concealed by curse words, you won't like this movie. If you don't like the idea of Jesus wearing tight jeans and a white tank-top, dancing provocatively with teenagers and moon-walking on water, you will *hate* this movie. Stop reading this review right now and don't bother, because you won't appreciate it and it will be a waste of your time.

But, if none of that stuff bothers you, watch Hamlet 2 NOW, or you will regret it.

What begins as the tale of a failed commercial actor-turned-Drama-teacher becomes a funny and enjoyable fight to put on a controversial play as Dana Marchtz (Steve Coogan) tries to save the Drama program at an Arizona high school. Dana is married to a sardonic woman, he lives with a lazy border, his Drama class has two (typical Drama geek) students who can't act, the school critic is a prepubescent word-smith who hates his work, and to top it all off, he just might be sterile. His life, in a word, blows. But when budget cuts force a large group of heavily Latino students to take Drama as their elective, Dana is faced with a golden opportunity. If he can't put on a powerhouse play, the Drama program will be eradicated also, and the new kids might just be the actors he needs to produce "Hamlet 2", his magnum opus.

With Amy Poehler and Elizabeth Shue in great (but regrettably small) supporting roles, this movie can't miss. It's hilarious, it's smart, and the chunk of the actual play at the end (with the so-called blasphemous song "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" at it's core) was a real bang-for-your-buck ending, where even the conservative Bible Study kids got into the sacrilege. I guarantee you it will make you laugh, cry (with laughter), and want to get up and go join a Drama class. Just pray to Sexy Jesus that if you do, Steve Coogan is not your teacher.
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"Hamlet 2" is a creative, funny, and original film with great dialogue and a hilarious breakthrough performance by Steve Coogan.
MovieManMenzel8 September 2008
"Hamlet 2" follows the story of Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan), a failed actor who's only hope left in life is to run a success Drama department at a High School in Tucson, Arizona. Sadly, he can't even do that right as he is notified by Princess Rocker (Marshall Bell) that the school is canceling drama. With no one else to turn to but his rebellious students, Dana sets out to create the most original, most offensive, play ever to hit the stage. That play is Hamlet 2. Lots of witty dialogue and laugher ensues… "Hamlet 2" was considered one of the biggest hits at Sundance this past year and I can totally see why. I am a movie connoisseur by nature so I sit through some amazing films and some god-awful films. "Hamlet 2" is probably one of the most original and funny comedies I have seen in quite some time. Even though a few of the jokes fall flat, I would say that about 90% of them work and truly tickle the funny bone. That is a great ratio for comedies nowadays, especially since most comedies are so mundane and clichéd.

There is a lot of good to say about "Hamlet 2" so I am going to start with the script. The film was penned by Andrew Fleming (he also directed) and Pam Brady, both of which do a great job with the screenplay. This films concept is so simple and that's why it works so well. Comedy doesn't require a complex script just a decent story, great dialogue, and good performances. "Hamlet 2" has all these things. Both Brady and Fleming wrote a screenplay that not only delivers the laughs but leaves you quoting one liners for days to come.

Kudos points are definitely in order for Steve Coogan, who holds the entire film together with his wit and charm. He plays the lovable loser character all so well. I love the connections to movies and various plays he makes throughout the film. It is like an added bonus for those in the audience who love movies and theater. Coogan has proved twice this year (in this film as well as in "Tropic Thunder"), that he has with it takes and should be a big name comedic star. Besides Coogan, you have a lot of great supporting roles including all Dana's students in the film, Catherine Keener, the always funny Amy Poehler, and a hilarious performance by Elisabeth Shue. The cast plays off this fun and witty script with ease.

In conclusion, "Hamlet 2" is the perfect independent comedy. It has a great screenplay, good performances, and originality. From the moment, "Hamlet 2" begins up until the final number this film provides non-stop laugher. "Rock Me, Sexy Jesus" is without a doubt, the funniest song in this film although there is one other song that is probably just as good but I won't spoil that one here. Just know it's hilarious and might be found to be offensive by some viewers. All in All, there isn't much I didn't like about the film. It really lived up to my expectations and I had a blast at the movie. It's a shame to see this film hasn't done well but I hope it will be big when it hits DVD in a few months. If you do get a chance to see "Hamlet 2" in the theater run, don't walk because Jesus will be sure to rock you all night long! MovieManMenzel's final rating for "Hamlet 2" is a solid 9 out of 10, its probably one of the best and most original comedic films I have seen in years.
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at least it was free....
I saw i free screening of Hamlet 2, They surveyed the audience, so it's likely the edit could change before the movie is released. Unfortunately the prognosis is negative. There's a few chuckles, but honestly the title is the funniest thing about the movie. Hamlet 2 is about a teacher who writes an outrageous sequel to the Shakespere classic, and has to fight the school for the right to put on the play. The best part of the movie was the actual Hamlet 2 performance. The songs were funny and the lighting and music were very well done. Elizabeth Shue was fantastic as herself. A breath of fresh air. On the flipside, David Arquette was horrible, lifeless, useless. Some of the kids turned in above average performances. I was expecting a south park movie, and this is not it. there's a few good lines, but you can easily wait for DVD, even cable.

my rating 4 out of 10
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hamlet 2 rocks
takethe-lead-tb13 January 2009
Hamlet 2 was an awesome movie. Very witty, uplifting, and hilarious. The reviews definitely did not do it justice. I think most people that saw this movie had something else in mind when they went to see it so they all watched it with biased views, because they weren't getting what they thought they were. The characters were all played by good actors and the acting was really good. the only thing i didn't like was the fact that it was supposed to be in Tucson, AZ and it was filmed in Albuquerque, NM. The directors said it was due to the unwelcoming Tucson, which is definitely not true as there are actually many film studios in Tucson..
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2 be funny or not 2 be funny, if that is the question, the answer is yes! But, the film will probably fall into oblivion quickly
Amy Adler6 September 2008
Dana (Steve Coogan) used to make films with Lucy Lawless and had some big ad spots, too, like the one for herpes medication. But, over the last several years, he has been stuck in Tuscon, trying to instill a love of theater into the local high school students. Only two pupils are actually interested in his classes, Rand and Epiphanny. His high school productions are far from desirable, too, as he prefers shows that originated on film, like Erin Brockovich. Few people attend. At home, things are not going very smoothly, either, as his catty wife (Catherine Keener) dislikes the Southwest and their boarder (David Arquette), someone they took in to make ends meet. She is keen to have a baby so the couple is going to a fertility clinic, too. Now, the new school year brings some surprises. Due to the cancellation of other classes, Dana finds himself directing a flux of new students, all of them totally uninterested in drama. That is, until Dana gets the brilliant idea to put on Hamlet 2, a new sequel that will feature time travel and the resulting possibilities of saving everyone who died in Hamlet, uh, 1. As it will be a musical, also, with stellar songs like "Rock Me Sexy Jesus", it can't fail to be a hit. Or can it? This is quite a funny film, with many great one-liners and a humorous cast. Coogan is perfect as the untalented-actor-turned-slacker-teacher and Keener and Arquette are quite fine as his offbeat housemates. The young students are also a joy, although mostly unknown thespians, and the exasperated adults who dislike Dana's ideas are funny, too. The setting in Tuscon shows the city at its worst, no doubt, as it concentrates on the seedy side of town. But, the costumes are noteworthy, the camera work is lovely, and the script and direction are funny and snappy. Yet, some of the film's themes seem vastly familiar, resulting in a movie that will probably not be memorable in the long run. Still, if you love quirky, do make time for Hamlet 2. It is a good for a night of abundant laughs.
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