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Non-Review Review: Hamlet 2

Ever thought Hamlet was kinda a downer, what with everybody dying and all? Well, you’re not alone. Failed actor and volunteer drama teacher Dana Marschz had the same notion. Drafting only his misfit bunch of drama students, he has decided to stage a play of his own, using it as a window to explore his own peculiar father issues through the window of a time-traveling Hamlet and a (rock me, rock me) sexy Jesus. The movie doesn’t perfectly capitalise on its downright hilarious premise, but it’s still a wonderfully entertaining story with a promising lead performance.

Sexy Jesus found his role greatly increased in the sequel...

The movie isn’t actually about the play. To quote the civil rights lawyer fighting for the right to stage the show after she’s assured it’s quite good, “it’s inconsequential”. The movie is more concerned with the protection of the arts and the free speech angle. Sure, it tends to come down rather bluntly and heavily on the side of freedom of speech, even to the detriment of the movie itself, but it’s a universally applicable idea and point that arguably still needs to be made. If you doubt that, replace the “sexy Jesus” with “sexy Mohammad” and watch the chaos ensue.

The movie itself is actually quite fun, and in many ways a perfect fit for the British actor Steve Coogan (who actually offers a pretty superb American accent – and near-flawless Jeremy Irons impression). The sense of humour on display is wonderfully wry, as Dana suffers indignity after indignity and produces crap after crap. There are not too many laugh-out loud hilarious moments and the movie won’t exactly have you rolling on the floor with laughter, but you should sit through it with a smile on your face.

Perhaps the best laughs come at the expense of the sorts of close-minded people who object to this sort of controversial content almost reflexively. When Jesus, in white vest and denim jeans, literally kicks Satan in the backside, a biblical protester declares, “I get it!” Behind her, another patron mutters, “It’s still disrespectful.” Despite the movie’s attempts at controversy, there’s actually relatively little offensive going on here – it serves more as a parody of moral outrage. Indeed, the movie has its heart in the right place. The rather jaded, but still quiet sweet, moral of the story is presented as: “it doesn’t matter how much talent we lack, as long as we have enthusiasm”. Yes, it’s a little warped and distorted, but it’s a little endearing.

It isn’t comedy gold, but it’s a perfectly entertaining little film that deals with some big issues. Sexy Jesus can rock me anytime.

7 Responses

  1. I had just gotten that song out of my head. Thanks so much.

  2. My only beef with this film was that it was very episodic (duh), and some of the episodes were funnier and more inspired than others. I heart Steve Coogan and Catherine Keener, though, and the songs were so good I immediately bought the soundtrack. “Sexy Jesus” is catchier than anything the Spice Girls ever wrote, and “Wannabe” stayed in my head for three straight years after I heard it!

  3. Oh my God, I love this movie. It’s out of its mind, profane, and flat-out hilarious. I kind of thought the Internet hated this movie, so I’m happy to see an exception.

    Everything Coogan does here is magical. He’s on fire.

    • I’m not in love, but it would certainly get a second date. Wow, I didn’t realise it was not well-liked. If anything, I kinda figured, sub-consciously, that I would like it less than most.

  4. Everyone I know has been persuading me to watch this movie and when I finally did I was blow away. It is definitely one of my favorites :]

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