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Hamlet 2

121 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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!

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)

Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Making Number 2
  • Oscar Winner vs. High School Drama Class
  • Sing Along with Hamlet 2
  • Audio Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Andrew Fleming and Co-Writer Pam Brady

  • 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: Multiple Formats, 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: Focus Features
    • DVD Release Date: December 21, 2008
    • Run Time: 92 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B001IOQWA4
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,433 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Hamlet 2" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    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.
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    18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By David Harscheid on November 11, 2008
    Format: DVD
    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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    7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ratso Ruck on January 26, 2009
    Format: DVD
    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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    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Scott Schiefelbein VINE VOICE on May 3, 2009
    Format: DVD
    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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    4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Poor Napoleon on October 27, 2008
    Format: DVD
    Hamlet 2 was either hailed as great comedy or despised by critics. The former group could probably see that this was satarizing a genre of film in the most unlikely way, while the former though it was becoming a genre film with a slightly offbeat sense of humor.

    In the film, Steve Coogan plays a wannabe actor who's done infomercials, commercials, and appeared as an extra in Xena and found his way as a drama teacher who unsuccessfully adapts hollywood films into plays. He lives with his girlfriend played by Catherine Keener and a border played by David Arquette, who has a couple good bits, but really has little to do in this film.

    When Coogan discovers he has a large class and that his class is set to close due to funding cuts, he decides to write the outrageous Hamlet 2. Here's where people get confused. On one hand, it appears that this film is taking the turn of every high school film where the teacher inspires his students to do great things through his relentless pursuit of a goal. But in reality, it's lampooning them but doing through chracterization, which is why the film's so much fun. But if you didn't get it, wait for the DVD and watch again.

    And of course, while the film is funny, it's uneven until you get to the play itself. Yes there's funny bits with Elizabeth Shue and brief interplay with Keener, Arquette, and Coogan, but as the play takes shape, we know it will inevitably take center stage. For the finale alone, the film is worth a watch as it's some of the most hilarious things I've seen on film in years, even if is borderline offensive. That's the point, right? My only major gripe is why on earth did Coogan have to use an American accent. He's such a funny Brit.
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