Review: The Campaign

Posted on August 11, 2012
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Who would you rather run your state Will Ferrell or Zach Galifianakis?

The Campaign is a straight forward silly comedy, exactly what you expect when you put two doofus’ in front of a camera with the premise of faux politics. Add in Jay Roach’s style of comedy (Meet the Parents, Austin Powers) and you should have the audience rolling. Not to mention Roach’s work in politics with films like Recount and Game Change.

Set in North Carolina, The Campaign centers around an election that normally is won every time by one man Cam Brady, simply because he always runs unopposed. When one of the towns self proclaimed prodigal sons is forced to run against Brady, things get ludicrous.

All is fair in love and war, and politics. Politics isn’t funny, yet Hollywood has always tried to get people to care and laugh at it.

Cam Brady has always been the top dog with aspirations of being Vice President one day. Sorry, I can’t even take that sentence seriously knowing I’m referring to Will Ferrell. With an evil corporation looking to “insource” China’s production from North Carolina, they need a candidate they can control in order to make it happen. In comes Marty Huggins and off we go.

Ferrell is up to his typical comedy tricks, dimwitted with a slick haircut a la John Edwards or Rick Perry. While Galifianakis brings out his alter ego Seth, lisp and all, and transforms into a moron who can’t open doors, yet is running for office.

The major drop back to the story is this corporation that wants control of Marty, The Motch Brothers. An obvious poke-fun at the Koch Brothers, played by John Lithgow and Dan Akroyd, with one of their major supporters being Marty’s father played by Brian Cox, a former politician in the state. They bring in a campaign manager Tim Wattley, played superbly by Dylan McDermott, to make things go as planned. Wattley’s job is to make the underdog win, that means smear campaigns, fancy campaign logos, a perfect house, the perfect dogs which means no pugs, and tons of embarrassment overall.

(I take offense to that, I have a pug! and she is lovely)

Brady’s campaign is run by Mitch, played by Jason Sudeikis, he, like Cam, feel they have it in the bag. But once Wattley comes on the scene, they know the Huggins campaign mean business.

From terrorist accusations, to baby punching, to sex tapes, this film is a slap in the face of politics. And if you expect anything more, go watch The Manchurian Candidate. Ferrell and Galifianakis are so absurd; it’s hard not to laugh at them.

What we can be sure of is that this film doesn’t lean in either direction. Republicans and Democrats fear not, this is a political satire you both can enjoy. Clearly that was done on purpose.

But it’s typical. The jokes are over the top, many are swings and misses, and the ending is white bread boring. Shock comedy and crude vulgar humor is the forte with this group, so nothing is off limits, and we see that.

The film delivers some solid comedy at times and will have you in a good mood watching it, but don’t expect too much in terms of powerhouse comedy in this 85-minute piece.

The supporting cast of Sudeikis, McDermott, and Sarah Baker, who plays Marty’s wife, are really well cast and add a ton to the familiar comedy of Ferrell and Galifianakis.

While some are saying it’s one of the funniest films of the year, I’d have to strongly disagree, maybe it’s because I’m tired of seeing Ferrell do the same comedy and jokes over and over. And maybe Galifianakis’ voice in the film irked me a bit too much, but I’m just not a fan of wildly stupid comedy. For Roach, this doesn’t enter the territory of Meet the Parents, or even the dumber Austin Powers series.

Rating: 5/10