• Release Date: Aug 22, 2008

Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 28
  2. Negative: 2 out of 28
  1. As a movie, Hamlet 2 is lively, energetically daft, and very, very scrappy -- a broader, more loony-tunes knockoff of "Waiting for Guffman."
  2. 83
    Funny excuses an awful lot, and at its best, Hamlet 2 is nothing short of hilarious.
  3. 75
    It's Coogan's breakthrough star performance that holds it all together. He's sensational.
  4. 75
    The movie is an ideal showcase for the talents of Coogan.
  5. Like its low-key star, Hamlet 2 is more likely to elicit quiet chuckles than raucous laughter.
  6. 75
    Occasionally sloppy, with a finale so abrupt and incoherent that it feels like something is missing. But it's also pleasantly odd and truly funny, and it builds in strength as it goes along.
  7. 70
    Coogan's 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.
  8. 67
    Arquette wander in and out of frame, but like everyone else in this film, they're eclipsed by Coogan's gloriously unhinged performance, which has the lunatic, semi-meta tone of a parody within a parody.
  9. A frequently amusing and consistently outrageous but ultimately tiresome farce.
  10. The film, which really is sloppy, slips around in terms of tone and goes every which way.
  11. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Elisabeth Shue has a strange role as a version of herself who has given up acting for nursing.
  12. 63
    A rather mediocre experience, offering sporadic laughs but never achieving the level of consistent humor necessary to make this memorable.
  13. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    Attaining somewhat of a bad parody of a comedy, screenwriters Andrew Fleming and Pam Brady have slapped together a string of gags in a hit-and-miss dither. Some of it is quite brainy.
  14. Reviewed by: Joanne Kaufman
    Mostly, though, there's the endlessly resourceful, endlessly inventive, bedazzling Mr. Coogan. Hamlet Schmamlet. Not since "Death of a Salesman" has failure been quite so entertaining.
  15. Not infrequently the movie is as mediocre as its target. The great Steve Coogan movie has yet to be made.
  16. Only in its aggressively imaginative profanity is the film consistent.
  17. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    In the new comedy Hamlet 2, Coogan comes perilously close to wearing out his welcome. It's actually a pretty fascinating sight.
  18. Let's just say that, when the parody looks indistinguishable from the parodied, something's gone awry.
  19. There's a lot of potential here, and a sharper script might have made all the difference.
  20. Coogan's mopiness is oddly riveting.
  21. 50
    Not nearly as uproarious as it should be.
  22. It's an unhinged, off-the-wall comedy that will try anything once, an uneven film in which the hits are so dead-on that the misses don't seem to matter.
  23. It all adds up to the kind of bad family entertainment likely to raise only a few eyebrows.
  24. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Hamlet 2 is as needy as its hero -- because it wants not to be probing or profound or even witty but, above all else, to be loved.
  25. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Amusing but unevenly inspired tale of a deluded high school drama teacher's attempt to stage a career-saving extravaganza has some laughs, to be sure.
  26. 40
    So wearying that it makes you feel duped for being open to it in the first place. Hamlet 2 works so hard at being entertaining, in that quirky, Indie 101 sense, that it just grinds you down.
  27. 25
    Much like the play within it, Hamlet 2 is lousy. The main difference is that the play is SUPPOSED to be awful. The movie about the play is supposed to be funny.
  28. 12
    The laughs begin with the excellent title Hamlet 2 - and they end there.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Negative: 3 out of 17
  1. Sep 25, 2010
    Beats hand down most of the hyped independent comedies! Very intelligent, very funny! A real gem! The negative reviews are probably from the Friedberg-Seltzer crowd. Go figure. Full Review »
  2. MarkS
    Jan 2, 2009
    Coogan gives a superb performance I did not expect (even though I had been told). The film is hilarious--much funnier than some better-reviewed comedies (e.g. Forgetting Sarah Marshall, or Pineapple Express). And it is far more clever than even its champions give it credit for. I'm amazed people fault the plot (a wonderful send-up of "inspirational teacher" films); no one who understands comedy should level such a criticism, anyway. Comedies exaggerate, take liberties, bizzare segues. While most run-of-the-mill comedies (see anything by an ex-SNL star) start strong and lose steam after a half hour when the plot kicks in, this film is filled with creative set-ups and delivers consistent laughs all the way through. What more can you want? Rock me, sexy Jesus! Full Review »
  3. KenS
    Dec 26, 2008
    The movie starts out slow and suddenly stops once it provides the entertainment of the play Hamlet 2. Many parts, such as Mr. M's wife, seemed to just be added in without a purpose to lengthen the boredom. With very few laughs throughout the film, the musical numbers might be the only 4 minutes worth watching. Full Review »