Hamlet 2: The greatest fake sequel ever

Mikhail Chernyavsky

Upon first hearing the title of the film I could not help but imagine someone saying, “When did the first one come out?” That would have been about 400 years ago. Like the title, the film is ridiculous and outlandish. “Hamlet 2” is perhaps the greatest Shakespearian-sequel ever made.

So, it may not be that much of a challenge being the greatest when you have nothing else to be compared to; however, “Hamlet 2” does hold its own ground.

Dana (Steve Coogan) is an over-enthusiastic high school drama teacher. A failed actor, he now wants to pass on his passion for the craft by shaping the youthful minds. Coogan is fantastic. He reminds me of every teacher I have ever had that was far too enthusiastic about what they were teaching. He drives you to the point of annoyance, but he is so genuine that you cannot help but feel bad for his flops. Like a socially awkward kid, no matter how annoying the kid may be, you want to hate but find yourself cheering on the kid.

Coogan is incredibly enjoyable as an idiot who is too dumb to realize that he is a moron. He puts on bad stage adaptations of Hollywood blockbusters like “Erin Brockovich.” In an interview Coogan said he was drawn to the character because he was always in a great state of emotion and had “never seen a character like this before that was so bipolar.”

Coogan is the sole star of this film. It is not that the rest of the cast is horrible, but that the mere simplicity of their characters is overshadowed by Dana’s complexity. The film could have done without Catherine Keener and David Arquette. Again, not that the performances were bad but it is clear to see that anyone could have played their parts and that the two were simply brought in for their name recognition.

This film is not too smart for anyone. All can enjoy it because it has humor that is both blatant like the play’s hit song “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” and subtle satirical jabs at Shakespeare.

Coogan did say that he was worried at first that people might take “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” in a bad context.

“Good comedy is not going to please everyone,” Coogan said.

“Rock Me Sexy Jesus” is one of the most memorable sequences in the film, with Coogan playing the role of Jesus. You can really see the South Park-esque humor here provided by co-writer Pam Brady.

This is a smart, cynical and sarcastic film. Whether you love or hate Shakespeare, when it comes to “Hamlet 2,” “the play’s the thing.”

Mikhail Chernyavsky can be reached at [email protected]