Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

24 September 2008

Hamlet Dos

I haven't posted about Andrew Fleming's Hamlet 2 because I kinda didn't like it. It is supposed to be a kind of Waiting for Guffman-style parody of high school theatre, I guess, but it never really succeeds.

The movie stars Steve Coogan as a kind of closeted (we all assume) drama teacher who can't seem to get his wife pregnant and appears to have no talents of any kind. Suddenly a whole bunch of kids join his drama class, which has had only two students for many years, and he decides to write an original show for them to perform.

The show is not original at all, it turns out. It is a sequel to William Shakespeare's Hamlet.

The real problem of the movie is that the idea of this fantastic show hangs over the entire film. And Hamlet 2 the play totally delivers. Those are a sublime twenty minutes or so. But, unfortunately, nothing before it is really funny at all, and Coogan overplays his hand. His character is a total fucking nutcase and a complete depressive and he's a little hard to like.

It seems odd to say that I liked the play better than I liked the movie, but, quite seriously, those final twenty minutes where the cast actually performs Hamlet 2, to pop songs sung by the Tucson (or is it Sedona?) Gay Men's Chorus, are brilliant. There is this whole musical number called "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" which is totally inspired. There is a time machine and all kinds of other nonsense, too. It's really quite a great sequence. If only the rest of the film were up to the play.