The Campaign (2012)

August 09, 2012 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

Will Ferrell and company have done it with anchormen, Nascar drivers, figure skaters, and now politicians. Everything dark, boring or serious is made digestible through the comedic eye, and although Ferrell’s approach is familiar, he still earns our laughs. Jay Roach directs this comedy about two seedy CEOs that want to take control over the North Carolina district by trying to take out long-time congressman Cam Brady (Ferrell). In order to do so the CEOs  turn the gentle Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), the director of the local tourism center,  into a true competitor in the race.

Jay Roach is known for such comedies as Meet the Parents and the Austin Powers movies, so you know he’s no stranger to daring comedy. The Campaign is low on character, like most Ferrell movies, and high on in-your-face political satire. The pace of the film is quite brisk at 85 minutes, and the laughs are consistent enough, with some knockouts sprinkled throughout (sometimes literally), that make the film worth the price of admission. Roach directs a pretty fast-paced, entertaining comedy with a bit of some ballsy toilet humor and insane situations, taking jabs and stabs at the political process right in time to warm us up for the 2012 Presidential election. The film is even more entertaining if you pretend the men running for the Presidency are sitting in the theater with you, laughing at a bloated version of their true lives.

The best thing about this film is the interaction between the two comedic heavyweights: Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. Cam Brady is all about “America, Jesus, and Freedom,” and Will Ferrell takes his hilariously arrogant persona and plugs it into the skin of this character perfectly. Brady is a womanizer, a dumb-ass and a damned-good politician. Ferrell plays to his strengths in this role, and he rarely disappoints throughout the film. On the other side of the squared circle is Galifianakis playing the gentle, and simple-minded Marty Huggins, complete with two adorable pugs. Huggins is a cute, marshmellowy man that is turned into a competitor by Tim Wattley (played by Dylan McDermott) his campaign manager. Unlike Ferrell, Galifianakis has different characters up his sleeve, and he outshines Ferrell just a little in this flick. That being said, together, Ferrell and Galifianakis are an amusement park of hilarity.

The Campaign is way ahead of Will Ferrell’s previous comedies, making for an entertaining time at the theaters. Many will go home quoting the ridiculous lines of the film, and make reference to such things as Rainbowland, and for many that comedic high is just what they need. Overall, it’s a solid comedy that doesn’t let the politicians or politics off the hook, and it doesn’t let the voters off the hook either.

Potential Drawbacks:

For those that have gone through all the Will Ferrell comedies, this may be one too many (or you might feel right at home). This film follows the same formula as the others, and Cam Brady is similar to Ron Burgundy, Ricky Bobby, etc. It’s definitely a good time at the theaters, but it’s nothing special in the Comedy genre.

The film starts off fantastic, but towards the end, even with a pretty short run time, it loses steam and starts to become repetitive. It shows us the ridiculousness of politics and touches on scandals we all know rather well, but sometimes it can be a bit over-the-top in crudeness for some. There are times when the film seems that it’s trying too hard to gross out the audience or make them laugh. The film could’ve been better with a more interesting script that swayed from the standard.

Film Recommendations:


Wag the Dog


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