Before I get to the point of this item, let’s take a quick gander at Andrew Fleming‘s Hamlet 2 (Focus Features, 8.27), which I’ve seen. It’s about a somewhat immature, emotionally imbalanced, self-loathing ex-actor and high school teacher (Steve Coogan) who stages an irreverent musical sequel to William Shakespeare‘s Hamlet co-starring himself and his students. Hamlet 2 was a comic hit at Sundance ’08, which led to its acquisition by Focus Features.
It’s two movies in one — an irreverent, somewhat downish comedy of manners and ineptitude about preparing the show (and fighting small-town elements who don’t want it performed) and the show itself, which turns out to be much slicker and professionally performed than you’re led to expect, and is fairly entertaining. And one of the big musical numbers [see You Tube clip below] is called “Rock Me Sexy Jesus.” Coogan — dressed in a dark beard, dark hippie hair and a white gown — plays the Christ figure in the number.
Yesterday, to finally get to the point, I received a tiny bobbing Coogan doll to promote the film — a mildly cute little thing. But there’s a little detail about it that seems…well, funny. Or weird. Even given the satirical “goof around with Jesus” tone that’s already part of the musical number.
The problem is this: look at the hands of the Coogan Jesus doll, and you’ll see he’s making the devil hand sign with his fingers (i.e., the index finger and the pinkie finger raised) and not the “hang loose” hand sign, which is conveyed with the thumb and the pinkie.
If you’re a football fan from Texas you’d say, “No, no, that’s just’ the ‘hook ’em, Longhorns’ sign.” Or if you’re a rock musician you’d say “No, no, that’s just a hand sign that all the rockers use.” But in a Jesus context (and particularly given the fact that Hamlet 2 takes place in Arizona, not Texas), the doll’s finger sign is still a little bit odd…no?
For clarity’s sake here are two images of the hang-loose sign — image #1, image #2.