Joseph Julian Soria
The teacher of Hamlet 2 is Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan). He’s infertile, rollerblades to work, and puts on quarter-assed productions of Hollywood movies like Erin Brockovich, which is panned by the school newspaper’s junior critic (Shea Pepe). And on top of his list of failures, he’s informed that the drama department will be shut down.
With no choice but to keep Drama alive, inspiration strikes! Unsatisfied with Shakespeare’s downer-of-an-ending (“If Hamlet had had just a little bit of therapy…”), Marschz pens a sequel, complete with time travel, dance numbers, and Hillary Clinton. Oh, and Jesus Christ, whom Marschz casts himself as (daddy issues). The rest of the characters—Claudius, Gertrude, et al.)—will be played by Marschz’s (mostly Latino) inner-city students, who he attempts to win over with reenactments of Dangerous Minds and Dead Poets Society.
The play, imagine that, is controversial. Banned from the school auditorium, Marschz takes his player to an abandoned warehouse, where his surreal masterpiece will premiere and be greeted with news coverage and protestors, most picketing over the big dance number, “Rock Me, Sexy Jesus.”
The writers, Andrew Fleming (also director) and South Park alum Pam Brady, cram so many jokes into the script, that just when one hits, another is there to miss. But it’s the cast that makes Fleming’s (Dick) movie better than the script or the ads would suggest. Catherine Keener steals her scenes as Marschz’s margarita-lovin’ wife Brie, Amy Poehler lets loose as ACLU lawyer Cricket, and Coogan kind of reminds us of Martin Short (though, take that how you want). One appearance likely to go over the target audience’s heads is Elisabeth Shue, playing herself, only as…a disgruntled sperm clinic nurse.
Hamlet 2 is as vulgar and mean as it wants to be, ripping on various cultures, religious zealots, and Tucson. This all comes at a fault, and it won’t be easy for some—myself included—to make it all the way to Act V. But “Rock Me, Sexy Jesus” at least is a hell of a lot catchier than “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat.”
Deleted Scene (3:00): Brie is ovulating and demands sex from Dana.
Making Number 2: In these two featurettes—Duty Calls (10:00) and Part Deux (5:36)—cast and crew take a look at Hamlet 2’s inspirations, music, story, cast, and more.
Oscar Winner vs. High School Drama Class (1:09) intercuts footage of Erin Brockovich with Dana Marschz’s stage version.
Sing Along with Hamlet 2 lets viewers follow the bouncing heads of Einstein and Christ on “Raped in the Face” and “Rock Me, Sexy Jesus,” respectively.