Went for the comedy double bill with the wife last weekend. First up was the highly anticipated Hamlet 2, followed by whatever movie we could then sneak into in a timely fashion…which turned out to be The House Bunny. Now let me say this. You will not find bigger Steve Coogan fans than my wife and I. We gloriously squirmed to the disturbing charms of all three seasons of Alan Partridge, many viewed on poorly dubbed vhs bootlegs prior to the show being released on dvd in America. I’ll even go so far as to say that Coogan is damn hysterical in Night at the Museum playing the miniature Roman soldier Octavius.
Hamlet 2 is clearly his attempt to make it in America. His big crossover film. And I must say, it disappoints. The premise seems to be full proof. Failed thespian tries to revitalize a high school’s fledgling drama program by writing a debauched sequel to Hamlet that involves time travel and show tunes. But somewhere along the way, the film flatlines. To be fair, there are great, laugh out loud moments and the production of the play is brilliant, but the film is ultimately inconsistent and underdone at times. At first I thought it was the writing, but Catherine Keener, Amy Poehler and Elisabeth Shue light up the screen and deliver first-rate laughs whenever they’re on screen. They’re fully committed to their characters in a way that Coogan is not. I kind of think that Coogan’s decision to play the film as an American is his undoing. He never truly seems to find his character and maybe that’s because he never truly finds his accent. Who knows. The film is all right but I expect a lot more from Coogan.
Thirsting for a little more comedy, but expecting a lot less, we snuck into the House Bunny. I must admit to having a soft spot for teen girl movies and I was kind of glad this was our option. And maybe it had to do with decreased expectations, but we were laughing a hell of a lot more than during Hamlet 2. Anna Farris plays up the Legally Blonde-style ditz factor as an out-of-work Playboy bunny trying to sexy up a homely girls’ sorority. I’m not gonna spend to much time analyzing this thing other than to say it was funny. Farris pulls it off and outshines Coogan. Ouch man. Didn’t see that one coming.