Release date: Aug. 22 (limited)
Director: Andrew Fleming
Writers: Fleming, Pam Brady
Cinematographer: Alexander Gruszynski
Starring: Steve Coogan, Amy Poehler, Catherine Keener, David Arquette, Skylar Astin, Phoebe Strole, Elisabeth Shue
Studio/Run Time: Focus Features, 94 mins.
High schoolers get silly for silly high schoolers
Fusing transparently edgy gross-outs to “hey-let's-put-on-a-show!” teen-musical fare, Andrew Fleming’s Hamlet 2 is its own variety of stupid/smart back-to-school comedy. Crappy American accent or not, Steve Coogan is all bitchy obliviousness as talentless actor Dana Marshcz, who’s washed up as a high-school drama teacher in Tucson, Ariz. “You’ve produced nothing worth saving,” the school paper’s precocious critic tells him when the administration cuts Marschz’s program entirely. Occasionally, characters like Joseph Julian Soria’s intense Octavio and even Marschz himself (a recovering alcoholic in a crumbling relationship) show signs of depth as they stage Marschz’s Hamlet sequel, like maybe they’ll say something useful about race or sexuality or art. But it’s all a tease. Fleming and South Park writer Pam Brady go for gags, the final show a pastiche involving time travel, Jesus and the Gay Men’s Choir of Tucson. Amy Poehler is histrionic as an ACLU lawyer. Marschz's musical is glorious. The movie, though, is just alright.
Watch the trailer for Hamlet 2: