Hamlet 2

[Amazon Link] [4.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

Something may be rotten in the state of Denmark, but things are also pretty bad in Tucson, where failed actor Dana Marschz is well on the way to becoming a failed high school drama teacher. This, incidentally, is fine with his wife: she urges him to go back working for Rite-Aid, and "start bringing in some real money."

Dana sees one desperate way out: to write, produce, direct, and co-star in the play "Hamlet 2". ("Didn't everyone die in the first one?" asks his wife. "I have … a device.") The movie follows his against-all-odds quest for redemption.

It's very R-rated funny. Steve Coogan plays Dana as teetering on the edge between delusion and self-awareness, but always coming down firmly on the side of delusion. Catherine Keener plays Dana's wife, who's clearly got problems of her own, although my psychobabble isn't good enough to describe those accurately. Amy Poehler shows up late in the picture as Cricket Feldstein, foulmouthed ACLU lawyer. And especially wonderful was Elisabeth Shue, a very good sport, playing herself as someone who's quit the Hollywood acting game in disgust, reinventing herself as a Tucson nurse.

"We're going to Hell for doing this play," a character remarks at one point. Watching is probably OK, though. I hope.

Last Modified 2012-10-09 8:05 AM EST