Andrew Fleming And Pam Brady: Making 'Hamlet 2'

Andrew Fleming, Steve Coogan and Catherine Keener discuss a scene. i

Director Andrew Fleming (left) on the Hamlet 2 set with stars Steve Coogan and Catherine Keener. Cathy Kanavy/Focus Features hide caption

itoggle caption Cathy Kanavy/Focus Features
Andrew Fleming, Steve Coogan and Catherine Keener discuss a scene.

Director Andrew Fleming (left) on the Hamlet 2 set with stars Steve Coogan and Catherine Keener.

Cathy Kanavy/Focus Features
Portrait of Pam Brady i

Pam Brady co-wrote the script with Fleming, and served as the film's executive producer. Lucian Capellaro/Focus Features hide caption

itoggle caption Lucian Capellaro/Focus Features
Portrait of Pam Brady

Pam Brady co-wrote the script with Fleming, and served as the film's executive producer.

Lucian Capellaro/Focus Features

The Steve Coogan comedy Hamlet 2 — about a failed actor and overzealous drama teacher who mounts a musical sequel to Shakespeare's most famous tragedy — was the surprise hit at last winter's Sundance Film Festival. It's in theaters now.

Director Andrew Fleming and executive producer Pam Brady also co-wrote the film, which pits Coogan's hapless drama geek against a class full of rebellious students, a suspicious school administration, dubious parents — and pretty much every standard of taste. (The film's climax: a production number titled "Rock Me, Sexy Jesus.")

Fleming, who also directed last summer's Nancy Drew movie, has made no secret of his love for musical theater; he co-wrote the movie's songs with Brady, who'd done similar work before on the gleefully trashy films South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut and Team America: World Police.

'Hamlet 2': Something Deliriously Rotten

Steve Coogan i

Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan) makes one wonder if the gym-teacher maxim should be changed to, "Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, teach high school drama." Cathy Kavany/Focus Features hide caption

itoggle caption Cathy Kavany/Focus Features
Steve Coogan

Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan) makes one wonder if the gym-teacher maxim should be changed to, "Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, teach high school drama."

Cathy Kavany/Focus Features

Hamlet 2

  • Director: Andrew Fleming
  • Genre: Comedy, Action
  • Running Time: 92 minutes

Rated R: All of the vulgarity of Shakespeare's comedies, plus a production number starring Jesus in a wife-beater.

Steve Coogan and Skylar Astin i

Hudgens and Efron — watch out. Dana (Steve Coogan) and Rand (Skylar Astin) perform in the worst high school musical of all time. hide caption

itoggle caption
Steve Coogan and Skylar Astin

Hudgens and Efron — watch out. Dana (Steve Coogan) and Rand (Skylar Astin) perform in the worst high school musical of all time.

What can I say about Hamlet 2 that its title doesn't already tell you? This is an unhinged, off-the-wall comedy; yes, it's uneven, but the hits are so dead-on that the misses don't seem to matter.

Hamlet 2 comes to life because of the all-out performance of Steve Coogan as Dana, a high-school drama teacher in Tucson, Ariz., who refuses to say die when his program is terminated.

Instead, much to the astonishment of his wife (Catherine Keener), he decides to put on a play of his own: a sequel to, yes, the story of the Dane. (Never mind that everyone dies at the end of the original.)

Dana brings the unstoppable enthusiasm of the Energizer Bunny to his love of acting and directing. Unfortunately, he's never been very good at either.

The one bright spot in Dana's life is that he runs into his favorite actress of all time — Elizabeth Shue, deftly played by Shue herself — at the Prickly Pear Fertility Clinic. Sick of the Hollywood fame game, she's found a new gig as a nurse.

Hamlet 2 picks up steam with the mounting of the show. For reasons that are never quite explained — how could they be? — Dana's sequel turns out to be a musical with Jesus as a pivotal character, and the show's main production number, "Rock Me Sexy Jesus," is really something to see.

When the father of one of the stars says, "I'm simultaneously horrified and fascinated," you'll know just what he means.

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