The lights and explosions of the summer blockbusters are dimming. The masses of film attendees are declining, and the unnecessary Mummy sequels are still not salvaging Brendan Fraser’s career. It must be the end of the summer for Hollywood and the beginning of the transition into art films for the award season in the fall. This transition is never smooth. For instance, this week’s new releases included a Vin Diesel clunker, an overdramatic spy film, and yet another addition to the spoof genre that only humors pre-pubescent boys.
There is hope. During a late summer intelligence film drought, one must rigorously investigate and perform in depth research to find a possible gem. This week’s gamble is a little film called Hamlet 2. This satire stars British comedian Steve Coogan as Dana Marschz, a horrible actor stuck in deep denial of his failed dreams of stardom and an abusive relationship with his wife, played by the brilliant Catherine Keener. Dana attempts to begin his legacy by teaching drama at a Tucson high school to only encounter a class of misfits and a potential loss of school funding for his course. To motivate his students and save the program, he vows to write and produce a masterpiece by creating a sequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
The plotline is very familiar and the characters are based exclusively on stereotypes; however, that is the aim for this satire on the conventional journey to the top story. The performances are spot on, and Steve Coogan shines as the overzealous teacher determined to find success. This comedy uses a unique formula of witty dialogue, dead-pan jokes, and raunchy sexual humor to produce an incredibly enjoyable comedy. However, the humor is very over-the- top and offensive. The two musical numbers during the actual production of Hamlet 2 involve being raped in the mouth and Jesus resurrecting as a sexual tool in order to connect with people during contemporary times. Risky? Definitely, but nothing short of hilarious.
Hamlet 2 may not be cinematic Shakespeare, but it’s an original satire that will score some laughs and create enough gossip to catapult Coogan’s comedic career away from minor supporting roles. Let’s just hope the opposite will happen to Diesel and Fraser, the only two action stars that make Schwarzenegger look like Al Pacino.
My grade: B