HAMLET 2 (Alliance, 2008) D: Andrew Fleming, w/ Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NN Rating: NNN
The movie wimps out at the end, when the inspirational-teacher parody turns into the real thing and uplift arrives in place of the pie-in-the-face finale its born-loser hero deserves. But that's a small complaint when most of the movie is laugh-out-loud funny.
Steve Coogan plays Dana Marschz like some mutant relative of Martin Short's Ed Grimley. He's a failed actor and drama teacher so inept he grovels before the school's 10-year-old critic. Splattering arty inanity all over his reluctant students, Marschz hustles them into mounting a sequel to Hamlet.
Catherine Keener, funny in her own right as Marschz's deadpan, cynical wife, makes him look even loonier. Amy Poehler shows up as a rage-fuelled civil rights lawyer, and Elisabeth Shue as herself, which is more amusing than it sounds.
The climactic show alone is worth the rental price for its overblown pretentiousness, and even more for its show-stopping number, Rock Me Sexy Jesus. The mind boggles.
The making-of docs have a few laughs, but given how entertaining the movie is, director Andrew Fleming and co-writer Pam Brady are disappointingly bland on the commentary.
EXTRAS Commentary, two-part production doc, more. Widescreen, English, French audio. English, French, Spanish subtitles.