Hamlet 2

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Hamlet 2 Movie Poster Image
High school theater spoof lacks some spark.
  • R
  • 2008
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A teacher swears in front of his students and accidentally hurts one of them; they clearly show no respect for him (they call him "moron," among other things). His wife belittles him, too. But he doesn't give up hope. In fact, in his own blissfully ignorant way, he manages to inspire and free his inner artist. The movie mercilessly mocks everything from the theater crowd to religion. Infidelity is treated humorously.


A man contemplates suicide; some brawls erupt; a girl keeps falling and getting hit by objects.


Conversations about the mechanics of getting pregnant, some kissing, lewd jokes. A man's naked backside is flashed -- he has writer's block and takes off his pants to get inspiration -- and there are allusions to his "balls" being flashed.


Language includes plenty of salty words, including "s--t" and "f--k." Not as frequent as some other R-rated movies, though.


Mentions of various Hollywood movies (Erin Brockovich, The Karate Kid, etc.); actress Elisabeth Shue is revered. And of course, Hamlet is referenced often. Also, Jack LaLanne products and fake commercials for herpes medications.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink while out with their teacher; they later spike his non-alcoholic beverage with LSD or another psychedelic; his wife drinks a gigantic margarita.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this comedy is set in high school, it's not really a "teen comedy." In fact, it takes a no-holds-barred approach to poking fun at religion, theater, commercialism, racism, reproductive technologies, actors, the ACLU, and anything and everything else. One song is centered on a "rock star" version of Jesus, and there are plenty of jokes that some people may consider crude or vulgar. There are also scenes of underage drinking and drug use, a flash of a man's naked backside, and plenty of salty language.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 13 years old Written byPokeypics May 15, 2010

Perfect for kids 12 and up, Who like Edgy humor

this movie says its "Comedy Heaven, and "Dementedly Hilarious" Its right, this movie is very very funny, and dont be fooled into thinking that ts... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bymilograamans August 2, 2009

Intentionally offensive, but half-decent escape entertainment

While it has been noted that this film isn't as full of expletives as other R-rated movies, the expletives are not casual conversation or ordinary reaction... Continue reading

What's the story?

You could say that David Marschz (Steve Coogan) is a failure. An actor who never landed more than the occasional gig for a home shopping network or herpes medicine ad, he's now a drama teacher in Tucson -- where his biggest nemesis is the fourth-grade drama critic who never likes any of his plays. (And why should he? They're stagings of Hollywood blockbusters like Erin Brockovich.) When school budget cuts spell the end of the drama program, Marschz decides to put on one final masterpiece: a sequel to Hamlet (featuring, naturally, a rock-star Jesus). Aiding him in his mission are two theater geeks -- judgmental Epiphany (Phoebe Strole) and closeted Rand (Skylar Astin) -- and their new classmates: Latino kids from what they assume are tougher neighborhoods. Meanwhile, Marschz's stoic brother (David Arquette) has just moved in with Marschz and his wife (Catherine Keener) -- who insists that now's the time to get pregnant.

Is it any good?

Loaded with ideas -- some amusing, some daring -- HAMLET 2 (which premiered at Sundance) is a cheeky comedy that doesn't quite hits its mark. On paper, it feels like it should be a walk in the park -- or, rather, South Park, on which one of Hamlet 2's co-writers worked. But although it pushes the envelope, humor-wise, it feels like a Christopher Guest movie without the spark. The ensemble fails to vibe on each other's wackiness, and their eccentricities feel contrived.

Which isn't to say that the movie doesn't have some entertaining moments. A cameo by Elisabeth Shue is especially satisfying, as is Amy Poehler's role, and the students are more than watchable. But for a film this out-there to really work, everyone has to feel committed to the insanity -- and, apart from Coogan, they just don't seem so. That said, when Marschz's musical finally gets its moment under the lights, it feels bizarrely, hilariously transcendent.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the message behind all the over-the-top humor: Why is Marschz compelled to stage one more play, and an original one at that? What's the message of the play? Also, what prejudices does the film make fun of? Does it do an effective job of making its point? What would you say that point is? What genres is the movie satirizing?

Movie details

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