Friday, August 22, 2008

Jesus Christ. A Time Machine. Hamlet. Tucson.

Hamlet 2
Release: 08.22.08 (limited); 08.27.08 (wide)
Rated R
1 hour, 32 minutes

Full Price ($$$$)

If you'd asked me last year what those four things had in common, I would've said, not a damn thing. But now, it's a simple answer:
Hamlet 2.

Teacher Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story), in order to save his high school drama program from the chopping block (and simultaneously prove his worth as a thespian and human being) crafts a sequel to a Shakespearean classic. The result, Hamlet 2, resurrects the entire cast through a plot device, Jesus Christ in a time machine. Let the fun and heresy begin.

Marschz (pronounced Marshesz...maybe) lives the age old adage, those who can't, teach. After accepting defeat as an actor, he resides in the armpit of America, Tucson, with his wife Brie (Cathering Keener, 40 Year-Old Virgin) and their housemate Gary (David Arquette, Scream). As the struggling teacher and husband, Coogan is absolutely brilliant. He aspires to inspire young minds with theater in the vein of Stand and Deliver or Dangerous Minds, yet he can't inspire his own seed to find perch within Brie's womb. The conception of his play changes everything. Once invisible to others, he soon becomes despised for simultaneously ruining a classic, taking the Lord's name in vain and defiling America. As the few strands of his self-worth slip from his grasp, Marschz's students must rally together to refocus him on making opening night a success.

Besides solid performances from Keener and the mostly silent Arquette, students Rand (Skylar Astin), Epiphany (Phoebe Strole), Octavio (Joseph Julian Soria) and Ivonne (Melonie Diaz, Be Kind Rewind) provide a tons of hilarity with their quirky characters. Amy Poehler (Baby Mama) also appears as balls-to-the-wall attorney Cricket Feldstein who comes to defend the play from litigation.

Writer Pam Brady (Hot Rod) and director Andrew Fleming (The Craft), with contributions by Steve Coogan, penned a script that steadily builds from mild chuckles to a cacophony of laughter. When I saw a sneak preview, there were times when the clever dialogue was lost to the audience's guffaws.

Dirty Undies
Coogan's Jesus does, in fact, make me wanna sing Rock Me Sexy Jesus. If you don't have love for sexy Jesus, there's always the cute Melonie Diaz and, let us not forget, everyone's favorite babysitter, Elisabeth Shue (The Saint), who appears as herself, in all her yummy goodness. If you've found the crude commentary of South Park offensive over the years, some of the dialogue from Hamlet 2, is not for you.

The Money Shot
Some may remember that in my Summer of LAMB prediction, I made the pronouncement that either Son of Rambow or Hamlet 2 would be this year's Little Miss Sunshine. I'm now satisfied that I was at least half right Hamlet 2 will be this summer's breakout success. Help make my prediction a reality. If you don't, I'll feel as if I have been raped in the face.

Large Association of Movie Blogs


  1. Wow - full price. Good to hear. That definitely knocks up my opinion of it, as it was previously set to "vaguely interested."

    But hey, since when is Tucson the armpit of America? I thought that distinction was saved for Mrs. Fletch's old home, Missouri?

  2. Hey Fletch,

    This is, uh, Mrs. Whore, for lack of a better term. I've never been to Tucson, but when I went to the sneak preview with RW, the director made it sound like a place anyone would want to escape. Is he right?

  3. Mrs. Whore! Nice to finally meet you.

    (Yes, that name needs work...badly. Even if you were Wayne's "John," I think that would be an improvement.)

    Anyway, odd as it is, in the 19 years I've lived in AZ, I've NEVER been to Tucson. I was in Tucson before I lived here (as a child on a driving trip) but never since, though I have been close.

    That said, though it gets the shaft compared to Phoenix, it's still in the gorgeous Sonoran desert, so if it's awful, the rest of AZ would have to be lumped in there, too, but most people find if beautiful, if unbearably hot.

    More to the point, I figured the South/south-Midwest worked better for the armpit term anyhow, seeing as it's always muggy and miserable there while it's dry as a, um, thigh (?) here.

  4. Fletch: I had high, yet timid hopes before seeing it. What a relief it was so funny.

    The armpit comment was a paraphrase of the director's opinion.

    Mrs. Whore (glad she stopped commenting as Anonymous) didn't mention she had to hug up on a flock of Sexy Jesuses at the Con to get us the free passes.

  5. Maybe Tucson is the flaky dead knee-skin of America.

    I just saw this last weekend. I thought Keener and Arquette were fantastic, but the movie didn't really take off until the last 20 minutes.

  6. I still want to see this again to see if it holds it's shine. I hope it does, but it sounds like you weren't an instant fan.

    And, ewww, by the way.