Boom. I laughed.
The lowbrow humor in Hamlet 2 works consistently well, but much more intelligent jokes are launched from the wry lips of Catherine Keener, who is terrific as Coogan's unhappy wife. She drinks the biggest margarita ever seen on camera and licks the salt right off the rim. (There's also a Roland Barthes joke.)
When his class is about to be canceled, Marschz drafts a sequel to the Bard's tragedy about the Melancholy Dane, which leads to riffs about the hardships of writing which I loved -- including the presence of a watchful pet, witnessing the agonizing process. Academy Award nominee Elisabeth Shue plays academy award nominee Elisabeth Shue, and she makes joke after joke at her own expense while wearing a nurses uniform.
A sustained parody of inspirational films about teachers, Hamlet 2 concludes with a rousing production. The musical numbers, including "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" are overkill, but the participation of the Tuscon Arizona's gay men's choir is wonderfully funny. Amy Poehler appears as media savvy lawyer with a Jewish last name, and the teenagers (including Be Kind Rewind's Melonie Diaz) who both mock and aid their not-so-beloved teacher are surprisingly sweet.
Hamlet 2 (2008)
Writers: Andrew Fleming and Pam Brady (South Park, Team America)
Cast: Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, Amy Poehler, David Arquette, Elisabeth Shue, Melonie Diaz
Opens August 29, 2008.