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Hamlet 2

Hamlet 2Directed by: Andrew Fleming Cast: Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, Joseph Julian Soria, Elisabeth Shue Time: 1 hr 30 mins Rating: R

Plot: Dana Marschz (Coogan) is a failed actor turned into an even worse drama teacher for West Mesa High in Tucson, Arizona. He has one chance to save his job or the drama departure will be dropped. Dana decides to write an original play titled "Hamlet 2."

Who’s It For? If you ever had an over eager drama school teacher or adore the comedic styling of Coogan than you'll find plenty of laughs with Hamlet 2.

Expectations: Coogan turned in a strong performance in Tropic Thunder. He's mostly known for his portrayal as Alan Patridge, but I've never seen that British show, am I missing out? The film is by the co-writers of Team America and "South Park," but there isn't much similarity there.


Actors: Steve Coogan as Dana Marschz: Coogan's the clear leader of this circus. Dana's an odd mix of inspiration and idiocy. Some viewers will be turned off because there's no way Dana would be in charge of kids, especially after the nudity, language and violence. Score: 7

Catherine Keener as Brie Marschz: I would have said it was a waste of Keener's abilities except for one killer scene. Brie is Dana's unhappy wife and it's perfectly and hilariously expressed while getting drunk at a Mexican restaurant. Score: 6

Elisabeth Shue as Elisabeth Shue: Shue plays herself, if she gave up acting and moved to Tucson to be a nurse. It's a funny idea, but the film forgets about her and she is rarely seen and barely explained. Though we do get a couple of Karate Kid jokes. Score: 5

Talking: I feel like I've been raped in the face ... No, not me your trusted film critic, but that's one of Dana's favorite expressions. He even turns it into a song. Others, like the perfectly mannered Epiphany (Phoebe Strole), constantly try to drop slang, but it gets tired as soon as it starts. Score: 5

Sights & Sounds: There should have been even more laughs mined out of the idea that Dana would adapt movies like Erin Brockovich into plays. And the final staging of "Hamlet 2" ... well, it works for laughs, and the song "Rock me Sexy Jesus" is definitely catchy. Score: 6

OVERALL Nobody has ever screamed for a sequel to William Shakespeare's "Hamlet." People might be shouting for different reasons with Hamlet 2. It's rude, with jokes about homosexuality, racism, religion but mainly idiocy. The large cast including Keener, Shue, David Arquette (who's good at doing nothing) and Amy Poehler all take a back seat to Coogan's Dana Marschz and his last name that can't be pronounced. Right from the start, with Dana's sad career highlighted by "Xena" and infomercial lowlights, it's funny. The flaws of Hamlet 2 are that is never decides if you are following along Dana on his foolish adventure or are we just supposed to sit back and be befuddled with how impossible it would be that Dana would be allowed near kids. The ending play is not a quality production so it works when Shue is the only one cheering, but odd when it makes it on Broadway. There are definitely enough moments where you are shocked into laughter that allow this "sequel" to be, as opposed to not being at all. Score: 6 out of 10

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