REVIEW: Hamlet 2

This films alleged “Little Miss Sunshine” prior to recent reviews, Hamlet 2 opened in theaters a week ago and I was lucky enough to catch a screening before it opened wide. Here’s my review.

Hamlet 2 is simply this: a story about a man and his dream to keep the drama program alive. The man, Dana Marschz (pronounced Mar-czit-s) is about as pathetic as one can see. He is broke; he is a bit crazy; and he’s also self-absorbed. He feels as if he can earn six thousand dollars to keep drama going. Now contrary to what vibe trailer may give off, the film isn’t about rights or inspiring children, but rather only touches on those subjects; which was lovely. Sharp comedy and fairly well placed – but abbreviated to keep a comedic stance – dramatic scenes kept the films pacing up and therefore perpetuating a lovable product.

Some misconceptions have had people believe that Hamlet 2 was written and directed by Matt Stone or Trey Parker (as the trailer says “from the co-writer of south park”) but in actuality, this is co-written by a South Park alumni, Pam Brady. Along with Andrew Fleming (also director), she creates a tale for the ages. The plot consists of the man, Dana (Steve Coogan) trying to keep up with bills – which leads to an unseen, pre-film effect in which Dana and his wife, Brie (Catherine Keener) need to get a roommate, Gary (David Arquette). Though everything outside of the creation of the play is a sub-plot, Brie and Gary are accountable for most of the dramatic tension found within the core of the film. Then you’ve got a very minimal, but key subplot regarding how the play will be displayed. This subplot is headlined by the always perky and energetic Amy Poehler. I expected this subplot to be a major chunk of the film – thankfully it was not. By avoid thing, it strayed away from the norm; which nowadays seems to be cliche ridden. Throw in a pointless (not pointless bad, but pointless from the main character’s perspective) story about trying to inspire lowly thug students and you’ve got yourself one of the most original films of the year.

The cast is wonderful, but the accentuating performance was by far Steve Coogan (who can do no wrong, apparently). Though the reviews for this film aren’t across-the-board glowing, everyone seems to have taken to Coogan in a positive light. He ruptures your lungs with his perfect comedic timing and makes you sympathize for him in momentous periods of grief. He was perfect for this role and should get some award consideration. The supporting cast is full of pep, but no one is all that noteworthy (though together, they all are).

All in all, the film has an array of comedic diversity. Whether it be firing from a risque, racist area (yo homie!) or seemingly taken from a lesser comedy (heywood jablowme), it fires on all cylinders… hitting most of the time. An enjoyable film meant for people that enjoy crude humor in general. ***½/****