Steve Coogan and Elizabeth Shue in Hamlet 2

Anyone who participated in theater or drama classes in high school knows that it takes a special sort of person to teach such things to students. Every theater teacher I have ever met has been, to say the least, just a little off. So when you think about it, the premise behind the film Hamlet 2 is not only relatable, it is also possibly brilliant.

It features the always funny Steve Coogan as Dana Marschz, a theater teacher in Tucson, Arizona whose theater department is on the verge of being shut down after a series of critical failures. In order to get things together, he decides to write his own play, a very original and somewhat disturbing sequel to the classic Hamlet. And just as the school finds out about the objectionable nature of his play and tries to shut it down, Dana finally begins to see how he can brake through to his students and show them the power of theater.

This is one of those films that seemingly came out of nowhere, only to be snatched up quickly at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. When I reviewed it at Sundance, I applauded its commitment to its own ridiculous nature. In fact, it is about as close as we will ever get to “South Park” for thespians. As well, it is carried on the immense comedic talent that is Steve Coogan. To illustrate my point, I would like to take a walk through some recently released video clips from the film.

The first clip involves Dana (Coogan) speaking to his drama class, telling them all about William Shakespeare, and ultimately having a little incident with a trash can:

[flv:http://media.filmschoolrejects.com/clips/hamlet2-trashcan.flv 480 260]

The next clip involves Dana meeting his favorite actress of all-time, Elizabeth Shue. She slides into the movie as herself, leading to a few very interesting comedic bits aimed at her more recent career pitfalls:

[flv:http://media.filmschoolrejects.com/clips/hamlet2-shue.flv 480 260]

Next up, we have a clip of Dana showing off his script for his Hamlet sequel to his wife, played by Catherine Keener. As you can see, the script is a little less than perfect:

[flv:http://media.filmschoolrejects.com/clips/hamlet2-script.flv 480 260]

Onward we go, flash forwarding to the point where the school has decided to shut down the production of Hamlet 2 — which probably has something to do with the group sex references seen in the last clip. This is where Amy Poehler shows up as Cricket Feldstein, an ACLU lawyer on a mission to win big:

[flv:http://media.filmschoolrejects.com/clips/hamlet2-cricket.flv 480 260]

And finally, the cherry on top of it all, a little musical interlude from the play put on by the Tucson high school theater class. Right out of the epic tragedy Hamlet 2, I give you “Rock Me Sexy Jesus”:

[flv:http://media.filmschoolrejects.com/clips/hamlet2-rockme.flv 480 260]

Now, I am sure that many of you, like me, are left giggling like an immature teenager after that last clip, so I won’t drone on and on about this film — just go see it when it hits theaters nationwide on August 29th. And as we do with all of our favorite films, we will be sure to keep you in the loop on Hamlet 2 as we get closer to the release. For now, I would also recommend taking a look at the recently released red band trailer and my review from Sundance. Rock on, sexy people!

What do you think of Hamlet 2?


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