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The Campaign

Screwball political comedy starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis.

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Mediocre comic plotting threatens to bring this one down; but it's funny and the leads are charming.

  • Aug 17, 2012
Rating:
+2
**1/2 out of ****

2012 is election year yet again, so the release of a political comedy such as "The Campaign" is timed appropriately. It's a perfectly entertaining over-the-top farce that allows us, for just a few hours at a time, take a step back from our political views and simply regard it as one big joke. We kind of need movies like this once in a while, and that's why we only get them once in a while (since the demand is not really that high for political films of both the comedic and dramatic variety). Obviously, the film doesn't really show too much of a passion for politics, but at the same time it's not completely ignorant of them. At times, it's really sharp; and other times, eh, not so much. But it's a comic blade that isn't dull, and in times like these, that shouldn't necessarily go unnoticed.

The campaigners are Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) and Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis). The former has past experience and is running to be the congressman of North Carolina to serve his fifth term in a row. He is unopposed until the latter finally gets his chance to run for the same position. Brady is vicious and unrelenting; and we see the two of them in various stages of preparing and dictating their campaign. Huggins is new at this and is astonished when his campaign manager Tim (Dylan McDermott) intends to change his candidate's look and lifestyle entirely. Brady's campaign manager (Jason Sudeikis), however, is a capable contributor but nonetheless very moral, which we will come to understand as the competition heats up later on in the film.

My biggest problem with this movie is the narrative itself. The structure, the pace; everything. It's not necessarily bad and it's entertaining, but at the end of the day, who can argue that it's anything more than just your standard comic plotting? It's literally nothing special much like the film itself and takes its overall quality down a few significant notches, but it doesn't take the appeal or humor down with it. Those two things stay in-tact and are able to carry most of the film on their own. While it's enjoyable watching these two guys (particularly Brady) lash out against each-other so that one may win in the political race over the other, it eventually gets slightly repetitive and doesn't do the thing on a whole much good.

But there are still a handful of laughs, many of them indeed centering on the campaign trail. For instance, Brady tries to convince his supporters (and those who would be) that he is a very religious person; and to do this, he goes to a church and holds a batch full of poisonous snakes, one of which bites him. There's also a double-gag, both involving hands-on fights between Brady and Huggins. The first has Brady aiming his fist at Huggins and instead hitting a baby, the other is a similar scenario, but the receiver of his punch is Uggie the dog, as a little "fuck you" to "The Artist". A dinner scene involving Huggins and his family, in which he requests that they share secrets before he dives deep into his campaign, is also quite funny. Evidentially, the best scenes are often the most absurd; while the worst are (usually) the most vulgar.

So I had a few good laughs, I enjoyed myself, and I admired the extra dimensions of "fun" that these actors brought to the table. The supporting cast - including John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd as corrupt businessmen who fund Huggins' campaign, and their business associate (and Huggins' father) played by Brian Cox - isn't really given much to do, although McDermott is a delightful surprise. Everything else pretty much goes as expected, and that's precisely why "The Campaign" is average - but fun - at best. I liked how it wasn't pretentious, doesn't claim to know too much about politics as they work out in reality, and has a main point that is more or less valid; but director Jay Roach definitely could have done a lot more with what he was given, which was a lot. In the end, it's a hit-or-miss comedy that will work fine as a matinée screening, but nothing more.

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August 23, 2012
I skipped this because comedies aren't usually a priority for me. Good to know it was decent enough for laughs.
 
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More The Campaign reviews
review by . September 28, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
  It's fair to say that both Will Ferrell and Zack Galifiniakis are in top form in this excellent comedy whose release coincides with the Presidential Election campaign.    Ferrell excels in playing over the top alpha male type characters, and his years of impersonating Bush for example on SNL pays off handsomely in this entertaining romp, because he truly can adopt that type of presence.    I was half expecting another formulaic comedy, yet the …
review by . August 20, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Four years ago, in the months leading to the election of Barack Obama, the film Swing Vote was released, a political satire in which the outcome of a presidential race depended on the vote of just one man, played by Kevin Costner. There was a funny, intelligent, observant film; it wasn’t about who Costner’s character would ultimately vote for so much as what the candidates were willing to do in order to win him over. It’s now 2012, …
Quick Tip by . December 16, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Caption
A funny satire on the way politics are played in America currently. It allows a lot of room for its laughs to drive its story. Ferrell and Galifianakis both do a good job as congressional candidates; cartoonish, definitely funny and surely exaggerated. It was also nice to see that the film’s best material wasn’t shown in theaters.      It does also take it shots as to how rich corporations are running politics and how the money invested in them are ruining America. …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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