I feel sorry for Steven Coogan. He gives me the impression, through his choice of roles and comments made in some of his more “personal” tv and film work, that he wants to be a big star in Hollywood. That he believes it is his time. There were some great scenes in the amazing “The Trip” (in which he played a version of himself) where he got numerous calls from his agent only to be told that he was being offered the role of the villain in a film or the comedy relief.
I feel sorry for Steve Coogan because I think he should be a bigger star in Hollywood. Where Ricky Gervais and Russell Brand have managed to effectively make the jump from UK comedy talent to moderately successful movie star, Steve Coogan would probably still be quite unrecognisable and unknown in the wider Hollywood film industry.
I think part of the problem is the roles he chooses. He was very good, but completely overshadowed, in Tropic Thunder. In fact, that’s the main problem with Steve Coogan, because in most Hollywood films, where he may actually get his recognisable break, he is a bit part or overshadowed by other, better actors. Key examples being Night at the Museum and The Other Guys.
When Steve Coogan does decide to take the lead role, the films are hardly “Hollywood.” Cock and Bull Story is a decent enough film but hardly going to put Coogan on the wider audience map. Hamlet 2 may be better suited but unfortunately, it’s a mess of a movie.
It’s a decent enough idea. Struggling actor and drama teacher decides to write a play for disillusioned inner-city kids and makes a disastrous, offensive and blasphemous play called Hamlet 2.Coogan’s character is clueless and often obnoxious, something Coogan is a veteran at playing, but the story is all over the place.
It’s almost like the movie doesn’t know what it wants the story to be. It tries to focus on the inner-city, Dangerous Minds, aspect of the story but never really accomplishes this. It tries to focus on the performance and the School of Rock type story but never really does this and then there are all sorts of wide, scatter-gun effect gags thrown in too. There are some funny moments but they are amongst lots of either obvious or very broad jokes.
The funniest and best part of the whole film is the actual performance of Hamlet 2, which has some great, offensive but funny moments, including a song that I guarantee you will be singing for a couple of days afterwards, but even this show is full of random scenes and crazy jokes which sometimes miss their marks too.
It baffles me as to why Coogan would pick a role like this. He has some great characters that he created himself and if he actually tried, could probably create something that would be a huge success on both sides of the Atlantic. Hamlet 2 is a film that Coogan is a lot better than and it supports my opinion that he is desperate for a Hollywood big break, unfortunately, Hamlet 2 was never going to give him that.
Luckily, from what I have read and heard, The Trip, a comedy much more subtle, personal and much better, is doing quite well in America so hopefully there is hope for Coogan yet. Otherwise, at least we have more Alan Partridge to look forward too.
Overall, Hamlet 2 has some good ideas but is a mess of a film overall. The final performance of the disastrous play is very funny in places and has some great moments but Steve Coogan is better than a film like this. Maybe his time to be a big Hollywood, comedic force, is just round the corner.
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)