Review: The Campaign

The world of politics can be a very dirty place for anyone who’s trying to make a living in it. The mudslinging can get down right disgusting, especially during election season. The Campaign is a movie about those things, but it involves a comedic touch. That should be expected when you have Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis in the lead roles as rival politicians.

When a couple of extremely wealthy business men get wind of a major public error by Congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell), they see it as a chance to gain influence in a North Carolina district by bringing in their own politician to win the upcoming election and take his place. They feel that they can use just about anybody to take on the task if they throw enough money behind him and they’re doing so with the awkward and unknown Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis). With their help, Huggins enters the race and each side pulls out all the stops in doing whatever it takes to win.

Cam Brady is a charismatic politician who is living his dream life in his current position as a congressman. Brady has power, two children, women and a wife who’s only with him for money and status. He’s a virtual lock to be re-elected into office whenever election season comes along and it’s highly unlikely that he’ll ever come out on the opposite side of victory. That’s mainly because no one else in his district ever wants to run for office. What more could he ask for? He’s a guy who takes full advantage of the situations and has no plans on giving up his role as a congressman.

Marty Huggins on the other hand, is the direct opposite. While Huggins also has a wife and two kids, he also has a pair of pet pugs that he loves sincerely. What separates Huggins from the likes of Congressman Brady is that he’s a nice, but extremely weird man that no one seems to take seriously. He’s always wanted to be a politician, but he’s never had the chance up until this point and time. With the backing of his father (Brian Cox) and a group of people who support him by making sure he doesn’t suck, Marty marches on to challenge for the seat that only one other man wants.

Once everything is set-up and the characters personalities are fully established, the movie moves forward into the campaign as the two men begin their run for office. Getting into the run for office is where we see the comedy that anyone would show up for this movie for. I was sure that there were going to be some laughs to be had going in and that these two political hopefuls would partake in the usual mudslinging, but I didn’t think they would go as far as they did. Some of the chances they take to humiliate and discredit each other stoops to lows of epic proportions.

The Campaign has comedy that’s insanely funny at times and it ranges from conventional to extreme. This politic satire is filled with a large number of crazy ideas that work in the situations that are put on display. It would have been hard for me not to like the comedy in this movie. It’s “laugh out loud” funny at times and it’s carried out nicely by a willing cast led by Ferrell and Galifianakis. These two leading men fit their characters as well as they could have hoped and put out very fun and energetic performances.

That’s something I couldn’t say about about Ferrell’s last movie Casa de Mi Padre. That was terrible and it was one of the worst movies that I’ve ever seen before. I was wondering if that was all Ferrell had left as it looked like he was going into full on Adam Sandler mode and just start tanking it in every movie. The Campaign shows me that he’s still has something left and he’s willing to give the necessary effort. It sits at the opposite end of the spectrum in large part due to Ferrell and Galifianakis and it helps to restore some of Ferrell’s credibility.

As entertaining as The Campaign is throughout its entirety, it does slow down after a while. It would have been hard to remain at the pace that they came out with for the whole film and that’s understandable. This gets off to an amazing start and slows down, but remains good throughout. The script, the comedy and its characters never allow The Campaign to ever come close to completely falling of the table.

Surprisingly, The Campaign takes its time to throw in some real issues that plague politics and our real lives. I was expecting something related to politics in this, but I didn’t think that they would go as far as they did. They speak on many current affairs that are having an impact on the lives of many people. It’s some heavy stuff that’s being shown in certain scenes and it hopes to get people to look at what might be happening in the world of politics. This aspect of The Campaign truly has meaning and I believe that it adds unsuspecting substance to a movie that’s all about comedy.

When looking at the comedy, the performances and the purpose that’s behind the plot, you get a movie that’s telling a meaningful story and having fun at the same time. With The Campaign, the audience must expect the unexpected at nearly every corner in this film, because that’s what you’re going to get. Is it perfect? No, but it’s a fun watch for adults who want something that’s graphic and a little different.

Score: 3.5/5

Rating: R

Director: Jay Roach

Cast:

Will Ferrell

Zach Galifianakis

Jason Sudeikis

Katherine La Nasa

Dylan McDermott

John Lithgow

Dan Akroyd

Brian Cox

Film Length: 85 minutes

Release Date: August 10, 2012

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures