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Hamlet 2 (2008)

Steve Coogan , Catherine Keener , Andrew Fleming  |  R |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, David Arquette, Amy Poehler, Marshall Bell
  • Directors: Andrew Fleming
  • Writers: Andrew Fleming, Pam Brady
  • Producers: Eric Eisner, Aaron Ryder, Leonid Rozhetskin
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: December 21, 2008
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001IOQWA4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,991 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hamlet 2" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Just when it seems as if things can't get any worse for high-school drama teacher Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan), he quips, "My life is a parody of a tragedy." Yet that very ability to laugh in the face of defeat will allow this failed actor to triumph over adversity. A lovably ridiculous dreamer like Waiting for Guffman’s Corky St. Clair, Marschz lives in Tucson with his sarcastic wife (Catherine Keener) and their silent boarder (David Arquette). Though he tries to inspire, like Richard Dreyfuss in Mr. Holland's Opus, only two students (Spring Awakening’s Skylar Astin and Phoebe Strole) share his passion for theatrics. When the principal decides to eliminate his department, Marschz makes a bold move: he writes an original play, lets the class contribute their own unique talents, and puts the whole thing on as a fundraiser (they'll need to bring in $6,000). Sure, everyone dies at the end of Shakespeare's classic, but in Marschz’s musical sequel, Hamlet 2, a time machine allows the Danish prince to turn back the clock to set things right. Just as his production starts to take shape and retired actress Elisabeth Shue (played by Shue) offers her support, his marriage hits the rocks, he starts drinking again, and the community protests against numbers like "Rock Me Sexy Jesus." (Amy Poehler portrays his ACLU attorney.) Though Andrew Fleming’s comedy follows the usual inspirational instructor trajectory, ribald humor helps the medicine go down and Coogan gives his most unhinged performance since Tristram Shandy. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Stills from Hamlet 2 (Click for larger image)

Product Description

One high school drama teacher is about to make a huge number 2 in this wildly irreverent and completely outrageous movie from the producers of Little Miss Sunshine! When his school’s theater department is threatened to be cut, failed-actor-turned-high-school-drama-teacher Dana Marschz writes a play that he hopes will solve everything: a sequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Now, staging one of the most politically incorrect musical-theater extravaganzas ever seen, Dana and his class will put it all on the line for one controversial, conflicted night of hilarity!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Theatrical Release
I kept flashing back to Christopher Guest's hilarious 1997 mockumentary, Waiting for Guffman, as I was watching this raucous 2008 comedy, and in this case, that turns out to be high praise. Directed and co-written in ramshackle fashion by Andrew Fleming (whose most prominent credits include the 2003 remake of The In-Laws and an episode of Arrested Development), this wacky concoction mixes broad slapstick, harmless raunch, and politically incorrect humor with a heavy, tongue-in-cheek dose of Dangerous Minds (referred to in the film) and every other cliché-driven movie about a schoolteacher who serves to inspire his students. The result is something of a mess when it comes to telling a coherent story, but it's also an infectious movie that had me laughing heartily during most of its 92-minute running time. It comes as no surprise that Fleming's writing partner is Pam Brady, who is most famous for producing and writing several episodes of South Park, as well as the 1999 movie version, South Park - Bigger, Longer & Uncut. The similarities are quite apparent.

The plot is predictably absurd and rather inspired. Manitoba-born Dana Marschz is a failed TV commercial actor who has ended up teaching drama in a Tucson high school.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coogan = Funny January 26, 2009
Steve Coogan plays his character with such naivete and pure love for theatrical arts, you can't help but dig him. The entire cast is up to the challenge of playing into his character that the film becomes more about embracing one person's passion no matter how awful you think it might be because you are satisfying the end result - art for art's sake. And in the end, they pull it off.

The film may not succeed in every way (i.e. David Arquette has literally nothing to do and the arc with Catherine Keener is utterly predictable), but there are never long sections that feel like the film is dragging. The laughs keep coming even through the character's lowest moment and Amy Poehler breathes plenty of fresh air into it at the end.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hamlet II November 11, 2008
I am a professional actor (stage, TV and film) and a substitute high school teacher. I am also a script writer and "script doctor." Physical comedy is my mainstay in theater. Just off the top of my head: Steve Coogan is a superb physical actor (his drunk on roller skates is unbeatable) He is well within range of Buster Keaton's world. The writing is smart, well-paced, knowledgable about teen-agers, and surprisingly free of salacious humor that usually begs for the lowest common denominator these days. (If all this sounds like too much praise for a film comedy, then you haven't seen enough trash onscreen!) Loved it. D. Harscheid
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Andrew and Pam Fleming co-wrote this bizarre, irreverent, hilarious, and completely original comedy . . . I must confess that I fear for their neighbors, because this pair views the world from a completely different point of view than the rest of us. While that's a boon to the movie-going public, I'm not sure I would want to borrow a cup of sugar from - Lord knows what they'd ask for in return.

If "Napoleon Dynamite" is a spoof of all teenager coming-of-age comedies, then "Hamlet 2" is a spoof of the "Let's put on a show" genre. Set in the completely mediocre town of Tuscon, the movie revolves around one Dana Marschz, a drama teacher who seemingly would have to aspire to great heights to achieve mediocre. Played by Steve Coogan with a zany pell-mell brio that brings to mind a young Eric Idle, Mr. Marschz is a semi-successful actor who has fallen on hard times. Now he teaches drama to mainly disinterested high school students and puts on derivative plays based on successful Hollywood movies. His marriage to Brie (Catherine Keener) is falling apart before his ignorant eyes and he can only roller-blade to work. Where, I should add, he is being fired due to budget cuts.

His career trajectory, one might say, has flatlined.

But then he decides to stage his magnum opus, a sequel to Hamlet. How, you ask, if everyone dies in the first one? Simple - a time machine! Not content to insult the legacy of Shakespeare's most famous play, Dana manages to offend virtually every sensibility in town.

But from Dana's madness comes greatness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a try July 11, 2009
I wasn't prepared to like HAMLET 2, but solid acting, witty lines and loopy plot turns had me enjoying the movie thoroughly.

A would-be playwright actor, the unpronounceable Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan), has reached rock bottom in his attempt to turn popular movies into stage plays; his take on Eric Brockovich is so lacking he gets run out of town. So Dana leads his ragtag rep company (wife played by Cynthia Keener, buddy by David Arquette) into uncharted territory: Tucson, Arizona. There he stumbles upon a gig as drama teacher at "West Mesa High School," a down-at-the-heels edu-barn whose programs are constantly being cut down to nothing.

**SPOILERS** At first, Dana's largely minority drama students don't see much in this white interloper, but eventually he wins them over -- not by cunning or caring but because in Dana's alcoholism and failure, the students feel sorry for HIM. (And help him, a fun inversion on the usual [and occasionally patronizing] film like STAND AND DELIVER or DEAD POET'S SOCIETY.) Dana's neediness and overall air of incompetence may put viewers in mind of "Corky St. Clair" from the Christopher Guest flick, WAITING FOR GUFFMAN.

So Dana and Company help each other into a sequel of one of the most sequel-proof plays in Western Civilization -- Hamlet. Actually, the resulting "Hamlet 2" doesn't seem to have that much to do with Shakespeare's treasure, but much of it resembles "Jesus Christ Superstar." (By now, you can guess who plays Jesus.)**

This is a cue for some of the most knowing (i.e., most hilariously awful) parodies of modern Broadway song and dance, from early Andrew Lloyd Weber through post-millenial "Rent," full scaffolding and all.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the least known best movie of all time
Most underrated hilariously darkly humorous movie that people have never heard of. It's weird. It's hilarious. Read more
Published 4 days ago by L. B. Nielsen
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Satire
This is a fun, silly bit of satire. It takes itself a little too seriously at times, and there are definite moments that make me wonder if I could show this to my Christian... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Laura OBrien
5.0 out of 5 stars Gravel! The bane of my existence!
Didn't know what I was getting into when I first watched this Masterpiece of Film and Space and Time, but I'm sure glad that I did. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Tyler Bowers
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Idea...Mediocre Execution
This could have been a 3 or 4 star comedy with some serious editing. The actors do the best job they can, but are hampered by a script that drags and repeats itself. Read more
Published 2 months ago by mr. critic
2.0 out of 5 stars Had potential
Parts of the amusing but I wss left disappointed - especially with the cast it has. It was great to see Elisabeth Shue again, though.
Published 2 months ago by Cloaf
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!
Steve Coogan is hilarious. This movie is such an unexpected treat. Having lived in Tucson, I know first hand the magical life these kids will lead.
Published 2 months ago by Raven R.
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy comedy.
Not as good as it was the first time I watched it, but still a great movie.

A nice watch for a slow night with friends.
Published 3 months ago by Sean Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
One of the most underrated comedies in recent memory. Steve Coogan kills and Elizabeth Shue mocks Hollywood wonderfully! The rest of the cast=perfection!
Published 3 months ago by myrtle urkel
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie!
I recommend this if you love goofy funny movies. Parts could be offensive to some but are freaking hilarious It's great.
Published 4 months ago by Adam44878
1.0 out of 5 stars Ham - bad
If there were a way to rate this less than one star I would. One of the worse movies I've ever watched. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Anne La Mont
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