Hamlet 2 is hilarious. I haven’t laughed so hard in the theater since…well Pineapple Express or Forgetting Sarah Marshall. That doesn’t mean Hamlet 2 isn’t special, it just means this is an oddly funny summer, with a larger than average number of well polished comedies.
Hamlet comes to us from, like so many other bitchin’ films, Sundance Film Festival and is directed by Andrew Fleming who has a pretty hit and miss, average, mediocre track record. Fleming directed 2007′s Nancy Drew and 1996′s The Craft. Which makes this oddball, uproariously hilarious comedy somewhat surprising.
Remember that Cronenberg film Crash (not the Sandra Bullock version that won the Academy Award for best picture, but the 1996 dark drama about people that get off from being in/watching car crashes)? The tagline of that movie is: The most controversial film you’ll ever see. I’d like give that honor to Hamlet 2. The irreverence is so hilarious, your stomach will hurt from laughing, but you feel bad because you know He’s watching you and frowning, but you just can’t stop laughing because it’s so f-ing funny (‘He’ being Jesus, whom the film makes light of).
Steve Coogan leads a talented cast as Dana Marschz, the creepy, and dedicated drama teacher who makes a last ditch effort to put on a play so successful, it will stop the drama department from shutting down at the high school where he teaches in Tuscon, Arizona. Fleming makes no secret of how he feels towards Tucson, and I have a feeling he may have offended some of it’s residents (you can only call it a shit-hole so many times before people start to get it). Catherine Keener plays Brie, Dana’s alcoholic wife, and plays her terrifically well. Other nuggets of joy include Elizabeth Shue playing herself, David Arquette as Dana and Brie’s fitness-fanatical roommate, and Amy Poehler as the ACLU representative who’s married to a Jew and proud of it.
While there are some lulls in the hilarity, it’s worth it to wade through the slow sections to get to the parts that will have burst in to laughter for hours after you’ve left the theater. If Jesus jokes or sexual humor offend you however, this is definitely not the movie for you, as some of the acts and musical numbers (like ‘Rock Me Sexy Jesus’) might come across as crass…