Outraged citizens try to pull the plug on a staging of a lighthearted musical sequel to Shakespeare's tragedy, which has been written by the high-school drama teacher (Steve Coogan).
" [A] dazzling little comedy. "
" A high school musical that would make John Waters proud. "
" Fleming saves most of his energy for the blowout final production numbers, which play like demented outtakes from High School Musical. "
" For anyone who ever took drama in High School, Coogan's character will surely ignite memories of quirky, even downright crazy teachers you may have encountered over the years. "
" It has an edge and degree of sophistication not seen in most summer comedies. "
" It has some hilariously humiliating jokes (Coogan really has no fear) and some surprisingly pointed real-life humor (Elisabeth Shue, you are a genuine sport). "
" Not since Death of a Salesman has failure been quite so entertaining. "
" The funniest Shakespearean sequel since Richard IV. "
" The movie is an ideal showcase for the talents of Coogan. "
" When the father of one of the stars says, 'I'm simultaneously horrified and fascinated,' you'll know just what he means. "
" Bafflingly, this poorly executed, undercooked comedy was the big winner at Sundance this year. "
" Fortunately, Coogan remains impressively unafraid of humiliation, pushing every joke just far enough to keep us watching. But he deserves more. "
" Hamlet 2 is a likable movie even as it careens around like a wagging tail, but it's just too uneven. "
" I am not fond of listening to characters scream unfunny lines meant to send up the blandness of everyday people. "
" Let's just say that, when the parody looks indistinguishable from the parodied, something's gone awry. "
" No matter how many jokes you pack around it, arrested development doesn't make for a very compelling dramatic arc. "
" The more self-righteous it gets -- the more pious it is about offending people -- the less it works as a theatrical parody. "
" The real tragedy here is that someone might actually pay to see this dull mess of a movie. "
Until recently, British funnyman Steve Coogan's appeal has been limited primarily to fans in his native U.K., where he's starred in a variety of BBC productions over the years. In the States, he's best known for supporting roles in Ben Stiller's comedies Night at the Museum and Tropic Thunder (and for allegedly introducing Owen Wilson to heroin -- something he vehemently denies). But Coogan is a talented, versatile comedic actor more than capable of headlining his own starring vehicle, as he amply demonstrates in Hamlet 2.
Co-written by Pam Brady, a South Park scribe who collaborated with Trey Parker and Matt Stone on 2004's underrated Team America: World Police, Hamlet 2 boasts much of the same irreverent, politicallyincorrect humor characteristic of her previous credits. Coogan stars as Dana Marschz, a failed-actor-turned-high-school-drama teacher whose enthusiasm for his craft is surpassed only by his lack of talent. When the school's theater program is endangered by budget shortfalls, he concocts a plan to save it by mounting a hilariously ill-conceived sequel to Shakespeare's Hamlet -- a play in which, of course, everyone dies at the end.
Hamlet 2 is chronically uneven -- director AndrewFleming (Nancy Drew) can't seem to settle on a specific tone -- resulting in an awkward mix of outrageous comedy and after-school-special drama. But Coogan's performance, even at its scenery-chewing hammiest, is a raucous delight, and it ultimately carries the day.
Disagree? Let me know at tleupp@Reelz.com.
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