Pop Culture Princess

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Top Ten Things I learned from Hamlet 2

Over the Labor Day weekend,I decided to end my summer movie season with a small scale set of laughs,so I went to Hamlet 2. The movie is a star vehicle for Steve Coogan,who plays Dana Marschz,a failed actor with a hard to pronounce surname who has morphed into a failing drama teacher out in Tuscon,Arz.

In order to finally get a good review from the junior high drama critic of the school paper(who finds Dana's stage versions of hit movies like Erin Brockovich to be uninspired at best)and to save the drama department from the budget ax,Dana writes his own musical play named Hamlet 2. In Dana's sequel,Hamlet uses a time machine to change the outcome of several of the tragedies of the first play,plus brings in famous figures from the past like Albert Einstein and Jesus to help out.

There are quite a few obstacles for Dana to hurdle such as a class made up of students who find him ridiculous,the school principal who finds the play so offensive that he spearheads a campaign to stop the production and Brie(Catherine Keener who gives a delightfully sarcastic performance),his wife who appears to despise everyone around her(including Gary,their room mate and her secret lover)yet still longs to become a mother.

It doesn't help matters much that Dana is a bit of a clueless idiot about many things but he does get some support for his play from a few of his students along with legal assistance from Cricket Feldstein(Amy Poehler),an ambitious ACLU lawyer.Elizabeth Shue plays herself in the movie,with the fictional twist of her being so sick of Hollywood that she became a nurse who's almost never seen out of uniform.

Hamlet 2 is rather random with it's humor and plot points at times,but overall,it's a oddly amusing film that does showcase the talents of Steve Coogan very well. It's the perfect little giggle fest to get you into that funky back to school mood and here are some of the lessons that can be learned from a viewing or two:

10) When showing your finished play to someone for the first time,be willing to take any compliments that you can get:

9) When speaking to the parents of a troubled student,it's a good idea to know the kid's real name and not the made up one he gave you at role call.

8) Written consent is not something that you can take back:

7) If Elizabeth Shue is going to speak to your drama class,Googling her name beforehand would answer your first question-"Who is she?"- right off the bat.

6) Even a stupid experience can be theater.

5) It doesn't matter if you lack talent as long as you have enthusiasm!

4) When defending the constitutional rights of a controversial play to be performed,quality is a non issue:

3) Whether or not writing an original play that would result in one that sucks is a question that every artist must answer for themselves

2) An actor's true skills can shine in any commercial venue.

1) It's easy to sing along with Sexy Jesus!:

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