The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Hamlet 2: A parody that fails to be funny

What a draining chore it was to suffer through the unfunny, clichéd and annoying Hamlet 2. The title’s funny enough, as is the premise of the story, but that’s hardly enough to save this train wreck.

Steve Coogan stars as high school theatre teacher Dana Marschz (his last name is “funny” and hard to pronounce, accounting for what felt like ten minutes of screen time). Dana couldn’t make it as a professional actor, so instead he has turned to teaching. The problem is—Dana has no talent! And he’s kind of clumsy!
And he roller skates everywhere—and falls down a lot!!! Hahahahaha!! Hilarious!

When budget cuts threaten the school’s drama department, it will take all of Dana’s cunning and perseverance to pull off a fantastic musical spectacle: “Hamlet 2!” But can Dana break through to the influx of Latino transfer students (who Dana initially calls hardened “gangbangers”), bring them together with his old white students, and produce something wonderful? Don’t hold your breath.

Needless to say, the play that Dana and his students are working on doesn’t really make sense. It involves Jesus, a time machine, the characters of Hamlet, and an awesome (translation: sleep-inducing) musical number called “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” which includes frequent references to Jesus’ “swimmer bod.” It sounds much funnier than it actually is. In another attempt to add laughs, they have gay guys singing in the background of the musical. Gay guys in musicals are always good for a laugh, right?

How an actor as fine as Catherine Keener (40 Year Old Virgin, Capote) got roped into this debacle is beyond me. She follows the rest of the cast by stinking up the screen as Dana’s long suffering wife. David Arquette is also around, playing their roommate who utters only 15 or 16 words throughout the course of the movie (HAHAHA—their roommate doesn’t talk that much—that must be funny!!!). Maybe Keener and Arquette just needed the money.

Thank God (or sexy Jesus) that Amy Poehler shows up later in the film to inject some much needed comedy into the flat proceedings. Poehler plays ACLU lawyer Cricket Feldstein, and after seeing her brief scenes, you wish the movie was all about her. Sadly, she’s only on screen for 10 or 15 minutes, then it’s back to comedy hell.

I only wish I could use Jesus’ time machine and get back the 94 minutes of my life I wasted on this film.

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