Aug 2008 22

This irreverent and silly comedy starting Steve Coogan is coming off being the hit film of Sundance and it does a very good job of being funny, even with the lunacy, absurdness, and predictability that fill the picture.

Dana Marschz is a high school drama teacher that has moved to Tucson, AZ after failing to be an actor. He turns out to not be a very good theater producer either and has a whole two students to star in his tri-annual stage shows that are remakes of random films such as Erin Brockovich. Dana is in awe at his productions, but is ravaged by the school critic and is the laughing stock of the administrative community at the school. Match this with his awkward living arrangement and self-loathing/drunk wife and it is amazing that he is able to keep his unmatched ability to remind blindly optimistic about everything. To his surprise, a large group of troublemakers and “ethnics” get enrolled in his drama class, as there is no where else to put them due to asbestos, and Dana takes on the task of having an effect on these children’s lives. After discovering his class and all arts programs are going to be cut, Dana sets out to create a play that will show people that art education is worth saving, and that play is Hamlet 2.
Now, let’s get my complaints out of the way. The film itself is random, absurd, silly, and has little to no structure. No some of those things I just list aren’t bad, in fact the fact that it is those things make the film bearable since it is not supposed to be taken seriously, outside the message that art education is good for kids. Things happen in the film for no reason, one minute people hate one another, next they are ok, everyone jumps into Dana’s ridiculous play with open arms, it just makes you go, what? But it is supposed to be absurd and not realistic, so I guess it is ok.
What is not ok is the acting though; besides Coogan, more on him later. None of the supporting cast does a good job really, I mean, no one is really terrible, except the kid who played the critic, terrible, but everyone surrounding Coogan is just mediocre and average; but they handled the singing well. Coogan is hilarious. Crude, brash, and optimistic no matter what is thrown at him, his Dana is genuinely great comedic character. Coogan’s mannerisms and face help him create an original character that is in love with theater but doesn’t play to any stereotype we have ever seen. Watching Coogan’s face is just hilarious as he gives odd looks and emotions through it, and his line delivery is impeccable. In fact, one of the best lines I have heard in a movie in a while comes from this, and avoid any commercials for you to get the most out of it. The few songs that are in the film are fun as well, and with names like ‘Raped in the Face’ and ‘Rock Me Sexy Jesus’, you know you are in for irreverent fun.
The film takes the idea of wowing them in the end and runs with it as the random mess comes together in the random bliss that is Hamlet 2 in the final act. The sequence is just great and brilliant on a number of levels and real makes the film. Coogan’s performance is worth seeing alone, but the final production of the play makes the film worth more then just a great turn by an actor.
In the end, Hamlet 2 stays consistently funny throughout the picture thanks to Coogan’s great turn. The film might bank on stupid physical humor a bit too much, but there is plenty of wit to be found as well. The best way to watch this is to sit back and enjoy the absurdity and don’t take anything seriously. The production of Hamlet 2 in the film is great and shows off the inspired imagination of Andrew Fleming who brought this film to the screen. See it for Coogan and for some good old politically incorrect fun.


From Around the Web

Please Leave a Comment