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Movie Review: Hamlet 2

Alternate Title: Not Waiting for Guffman

Story: I was hoping for a Waiting for Guffman type frolic but sadly, only got bits and spurts of side splitting laughter and too many meandering scenes that should have been relegated to the cutting room floor.

Failed as an actor, occasionally bitter, always frustrated high school drama teacher Dana Marschz learns that the school will be dropping drama from the curriculum. He writes his own play, Hamlet 2, thinking that the powers that be will see the genius in him, his students and the program and they will reinstate drama and all will be fine. Needless to say - all does not go as planned. The ultra-conservative community, student discipline problems, an unfaithful wife and Dana's unresolved therapy issues all make for some funny bits.

The big problem is that director Andrew Fleming is all over the place. There is no clear direction and the film starts to sputter. It was written by Fleming and Pam Brady (South Park). The film has heart but needed tidying up before it hit the big screen. That said - if you want a big dose of stupid summer entertainment, or need a movie to watch on your next flight, check it out.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZFtLU-qa2w

And just for the fun of it, here is one of the funnier bits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgGVsIgNoj4

Acting: Steve Coogan as Dana Marschz stays in character and is funny and endearing most of the time. Catherine Keener as straying wife Brie is always good. David Arquette's part was puzzling and incomplete. Amy Poehler as ACLUs, Cricket Feldstein was annoyingly funny. The cast of students did not have enough to do and they mostly played stereotypes, including: Melonie Diaz, Joseph Julian Soria, Skylar Astin, Phoebe Strole, Shea Pepe. The role that Elisabeth Shue played, which was herself, was totally baffling.

Trivia: Steve Coogan was born in Manchester, England. Catherine Keener is of Irish and Lebanese descent. Elisabeth Shue got started in commercials as "The Burger King Girl" and in DeBeers diamonds ads and Hellman's mayonnaise ads. David Arquette dated Ellen Barkin in 1995. Amy Poehler lives in Tribeca and is a Boston Red Sox fan.

Predilection: Sometimes a silly movie is fun.

Critters: A very funny, typically behaved orange cat.

Food: Mall fast food quesadillas, pizza and cereal.

Sex Spectrum: No sex but plenty of talk about sperm banks.

Blatant Product Placement: Apple

Soundtrack: Funny

Opening Titles: A funny bit with some of the ads that our star had made while struggling to be 'discovered.'

Visual Art: Lots of funny visuals from the Tucson area.

Theater Audience: Six young ladies were sitting near me. They laughed quite a bit.

Weather: It takes place in Tucson. It is hot, sunny and dry.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: Should have been quirkier.

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I drifted during the meandering parts.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. You could also rent those other teacher as inspirational films like Mr Holland's Opus, Dead Poet's Society and Music From the Heart.

Length: 90 minutes