Hamlet 2

Rated 3.0

A failed actor (Steve Coogan), currently failing as a high-school-drama teacher and faced with losing his job, decides to go down fighting with his own sequel to Shakespeare’s masterpiece. Director Andrew Fleming and co-writer Pam Brady reach fearlessly—even desperately—for laughs, much the way Brady did in her script for last year’s Hot Rod. This time, however, Brady’s luck is better: The script has funnier gags, and a stronger director and cast are on hand to put them over. Coogan is both hilarious and poignant in portraying the noisy desperation of a man who knows he’s lousy at the one thing he loves to do. Catherine Keener as his disgruntled wife is just as funny, and Elisabeth Shue does a good-sport turn as a version of herself, having given up the cutthroat movie business to become a nurse.