Hamlet 2 (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/10/2008

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

There are enough laugh out loud jokes in Hamlet 2 to make it worth seeing, but the tone is all over the place, the plot doesn't really work and Coogan's character is largely irritating.

What's it all about?
Steve Coogan plays Dana Marschz, a failed actor turned drama teacher at a high school in Tucson, Arizona. When the school threatens to cut his funding, Marschz decides to stage a last-ditch production that will save the day and writes a politically incorrect musical sequel to Hamlet, featuring time machines and Jesus.

Marschz also has his own problems to deal with, namely that he's an infertile recovering alcoholic whose wife (Catherine Keener) is openly hostile to him. However, he feels his luck beginning to change when he meets Elisabeth Shue (Elisabeth Shue), who has given up acting and is working as a nurse.

The Good
It is fair to say that there are some very funny jokes in Hamlet 2, from the brief glimpses of Marschz's acting resume (a herpes cream commercial, a bit-part in Xena: Warrior Princess) to his interactions with a frequently drunk Keener (hilarious) and the show-stopping musical number Rock Me Sexy Jesus.

The supporting cast are excellent, particularly Keener, David Arquette (as their monosyllabic lodger) and a very game Elisabeth Shue, while Amy Poehler makes a scene-stealing appearance towards the end as a human rights lawyer.

The Bad
However, Marschz isn't a particularly loveable loser and Coogan's decision to play him with an American accent was probably unwise. Similarly, director Andrew Fleming never gets the tone right and it veers wildly from surreal gag-fest to downbeat indie drama and black comedy, as if it had undergone several rewrites. It's also fair to say that for every laugh out loud gag (and there are several), there are an equal number of gags that don't work at all and the script fails to pull it all together.

Worth seeing?
Hamlet 2 has some decent laughs and is just about worth seeing, but the end result is disappointing, thanks to an uneven script and poor direction.

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Content updated: 18/10/2017 15:43

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