Picks and Pans Review: Hamlet 2

updated 09/01/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/01/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, Amy Poehler | R |

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The infinite monkey theorem states that if a limitless number of monkeys toiled on typewriters, one would eventually bang out the words of Shakespeare. This kooky comedy puts that to the test with Dana (Coogan), a failed actor who's even more hapless as a high school drama teacher. After his dreadful stage adaptations of films like Erin Brockovich put the drama department on the chopping block, he tries to save it with his nuttiest creation yet: Hamlet 2, a musical featuring the Dane, Jesus, a time machine and—why not?—light-saber duels. It's blasphemous (the big number is called "Rock Me Sexy Jesus") and wickedly funny.

Hamlet 2 is buoyed by Coogan's unwavering commitment to idiocy and an inspired script, which thumbs its nose at two fossilized genres: "let's put on a show" and "white teacher inspires inner-city kids." Even Shakespeare would agree that the naughty but catchy "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" is worthy of a Best Song Oscar nod.

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