Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, Joseph Julian Soria, Skylar Astin, Phoebe Strole, Melonie Diaz, Arnie Pantoja, Michael Esparza, Natalie Amenula, Marshall Bell, David Arquette, Elisabeth Shue, Amy Poehler, Shea Pepe, Marco Rodr�guez, Deborah Chavez"/>
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With: Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, Joseph Julian Soria, Skylar Astin, Phoebe Strole, Melonie Diaz, Arnie Pantoja, Michael Esparza, Natalie Amenula, Marshall Bell, David Arquette, Elisabeth Shue, Amy Poehler, Shea Pepe, Marco Rodr�guez, Deborah Chavez
Written by: Pam Brady, Andrew Fleming
Directed by: Andrew Fleming
MPAA Rating: R for language including sexual references, brief nudity and some drug content
Running Time: 92
Date: 01/21/2008
IMDB

Hamlet 2 (2008)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Frailty, Thy Name Is Marschz

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Steve Coogan plays the effete Dana Marschz, a washed-up actor now teaching drama at a Tucson high school. His class -- consisting of two well-bred, white kids -- usually puts on bad adaptations of movies (like Erin Brockovich), but due to some bureaucratic shuffling, he winds up with a class full of rowdy Latinos. When the drama department comes under fire, Marschz desperately writes a sequel to Hamlet designed to save the day. Instead, it raises all kinds of controversy, especially due to the character of "Sexy Jesus," portrayed by Marschz himself. Written by Pam Brady and Andrew Fleming and directed by Fleming (Dick, Nancy Drew), the film wobbles between floppy satire and a gooey character study, and never succeeds at either. Coogan gets in some funny line readings from time to time, but there's too much emphasis on his likeability for him to be truly funny. Catherine Keener, on the other hand, nails every one of her few scenes with her hysterical, desperate, gear-switching portrayal of Marschz's long-suffering wife (she's nearly worth the price of admission). The rest of the plot arcs are all too predictable and the "Hamlet 2" play is shapeless and tame. A good cast -- including spirited Melonie Diaz (Be Kind Rewind), Elizabeth Shue (as herself), David Arquette and Amy Poehler -- is willing, but unable to rise above the material. The movie made headlines in January when Focus Features paid $10 million for the distribution rights at the Sundance Film Festival, leaving many to speculate how it could ever make its money back.

DVD Details: Universal/Focus's 2009 DVD release comes with a few extras: deleted scenes, a featurette, a "sing-a-long" option and other stuff.

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