Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Review - Hamlet 2

A failed actor has become a high school drama teacher in Tuscon Arizona and has put on nothing but terrible productions. With the school district cutbacks, the drama department is the first to go, unless they can put on a show that will make the department standout. Mr. Marschz begins writing his own play, a sequel to the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet. The play is completely political incorrect and very controversial, which begins an outcry in the community, leading up to the performance.

I attended a special Comic Con screening of Hamlet 2 back in July with a Q&A session with writer Pam Brady (Team America), director Andrew Flemming (The Craft & Dick), and star Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder & Night at the Museum) and moderated by Capone of Aint it Cool News, and thought I might as well re-post the review. First off, Hamlet 2 is a hilarious movie that will "Face Rape" you, and you will love every minute of it! The humor throughout is very crass, except it works so well, that you hardly notice the very adult themes in the film. The best thing about Hamlet 2 is that the laughs really keep coming, and get increasingly funnier up to the riot inspiring production of Hamlet 2 at the end. Most comedies tend to have peaks and valleys of laughs, or they only come in spurts, but in Hamlet 2 you really do laugh throughout (and laugh hard). The play of Hamlet 2, is so fucking funny, I dont think I stopped laughing through the entire stage production. The musical number "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" is pure genuis (I've already bought the exclusive single off iTunes) and Coogan was so funny as the "swimmer bod" sexy Jesus. For a comedy to have so many great bits in it, is very rare, but Hamlet 2 pulls it off in a huge way! (I will know refer to William Shakespeare's Hamlet as, Hamlet 1)

Steve Coogan is perfect as the terrible commercial actor who now teaches drama in Tuscon Arizona. His performance as the dense teacher who rides to work on roller skates is hysterical. Every moment on screen he has you in antcipation of another great delivery or laugh (He was very much the same way during the Q&A session following the film). The scenes with him writing Hamlet 2 is extremely funny, in particular, and had the entire theater in stiches. His protrayal of Jesus in the stage production and the musical numbers is absolutely absurd, but at the same time so perfect. Steve Coogan's character in Hamlet 2, is one that will be remembered with the likes of other funnymen Ferrell's Ron Burgundy and Stiller's Derek Zoolander. Just funny shit!

The rest of the cast is also damn funny. Catherine Keener plays Coogan's eccentric wife, who has a knack for drinking and complaining about her husband's horrible career. Keener is funny as always, and really has some flawless deliveries opposite Coogan. In an odd role, David Arquette plays Coogan and Keener's roommate Gary, who says maybe two lines in the film. The facial expressions that Arquette delivers are absolutely perfect in setting the uncomfortable nature when Keener and Coogan are on screen together. In another amusing role, Elizabeth Shue, plays herself. She is a nurse now, because she has grown tired of the industry, and Mr. Marschz asks her to come and speak to his drama class. All students of Mr. Marschz in the film are mainly unknown's or Broadway actors, who all deliver caliber performances. The entire cast of Hamlet 2 are all good and each really have moments to shine and make us laugh and then laugh some more.

The best thing about Hamlet 2 was, it was completely unexpectedly funny, and really good. I thought going into the film it would be marginally funny, but would most likely be too over the top and forgetable. Boy, was I ever wrong! This one of the better comedies in a short while. It also is refreshing to see something really funny from outside of the Apatow and Stiller camps. Judd Apatow has been a goldmine as of late, and it is nice to see another great comedy from a new team. Hamlet 2 went far above my expectations and really excels on it's own merits. Bravo!

Hamlet 2 releases August 22nd and its extremely enjoyable while being extremely crass. The laughs are non-stop throughout and all of the performances and writing are impressive. Steve Coogan really shows off his comedic ability here and hopefully mainstream audenices can begin to apppreciate a really talented comedian. Go see Hamlet 2 you'll be laughing and singing "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" on the way out! I'll be seeing this one again and again!