Hamlet 2 | Chicago Reader

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British comedian Steve Coogan has livened up an assortment of U.S. movies (Around the World in 80 Days, Coffee and Cigarettes, Tropic Thunder), but this snarky comedy is his first starring vehicle in the States, and he carries it. His screen persona is vain, dim, angry, and deeply miserable, and his handful of scenes here with a smilingly harsh Catherine Keener are little masterpieces of comic sadomasochism. As a no-talent actor teaching theater at a Tucson high school, Coogan has plenty of funny material early on, though the hand of South Park writer Pam Brady is increasingly evident in the tired transgressions (trying to save his job, Coogan stages an original musical with such production numbers as “Raped in the Face” and “Rock Me Sexy Jesus”). Andrew Fleming (Nancy Drew) directed and cowrote the script; with David Arquette, Amy Poehler, and Elisabeth Shue in a good-sport cameo as a washed-up Elisabeth Shue. R, 93 min.

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