I saw the trailer for the movie, and was very excited. Failed actor-turned-drama-teacher writing a terrible, sacrilicious sequel to Hamlet? Sign me the hell up.
Then I watched the movie.
It's really, really sad when you watch a film and think "My god, I could have written better than this in high school."
This post contains spoilers for Hamlet 2. You have been warned. I see you scrollin'. You hatin'.
The biggest problem with Hamlet 2 is the wasted potential. There are nearly a dozen storylines woven into the plot that could have been expanded on, without adding any significant bulk to the film's running time. All it would take is more efficient use of dialogue and closer attention to how the scenes are timed:
In addition to the horrifically wasted potential, the writers suffer from a not-uncommon affliction that results in thinking that being offensive or saying uncomfortable things is the same as being edgy or funny. Jokes about childhood sexual abuse, anti-Semiticism, racism, etc... just aren't funny. At the very, very least, these weren't. It's one thing to make pointed, interesting, and potentially funny commentary on these subjects, another thing to just toss them at the audience and expect them to go "lol your trauma". Comedy isn't as simple as saying a word and getting a laugh; the entire basis of comedy is that you make your audience think. Even Larry the Cable Guy makes his audience consider, if briefly, the difference between situations he describes and how simple logic dictates the world should function. In that gulf, however wide or narrow, between a joke's presentation of What Is and What Ought to Be, lies The Funny. But just saying "my father raped me in the face" isn't funny, because the difference there between what is and what was isn't absurdity, it's tragedy.
There are two possibilities for why Hamlet 2 turned out the way it did.
One, the creative team has been working on it for some time. And they are really into it. So into it, in fact, that they forget that their audience doesn't know these characters like they do. They don't realize how little characterization and depth made it to the big screen, because they know the underlying stories that prop all these scenes up. The result was a patched-together movie that comes off like a high school English project with higher production values.
Two, they are just bad writers, and need to be stopped before they write again.
Hamlet 2 had the potential to be an utterly hilarious, heartwrenching, touching, inspiring, quirky, delightful film. Instead, it's barely passable as a waste of time. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is arguably a greater tragedy than the original Hamlet.