The Campaign

The Campaign

Opens: Aug. 10

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Review by Joe Hagen

When reviewing a movie like The Campaign, it is imperative to remember that you are reviewing a movie starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. Thus, the areas on which you might typically focus during a normal movie review do not apply. For example, if I were reviewing The King’s Speech, I might focus my review on the high-quality acting and directing, the beautiful cinematography, and the effective and touching script. Yet, let us not forget, this is a review for The Campaign. It would be more likely for this reviewer to focus on the number of times that Will Ferrell punches a baby, the number of times Ferrell displays his weird chest hair, and the quality and thickness of Zach Galifianakis’ mustache.

The CampaignAlthough The Campaign lacks the depth and quality of a film like The King’s Speech, The Campaign succeeded in making me laugh. A lot. The Campaign is vulgar, pointless, and ridiculous. The plot is insanely flimsy: Cam Brady is a North Carolina Congressman up for re-election who gets into hot water after leaving a hilariously dirty message on what he thinks is his mistress’ answering machine. The Motch brothers (Dan Akyroyd and John Lithgow as an obvious play on the Koch brothers) then decide to fund inexperienced and quirky tourism director Marty Huggins (Galifianakis) as the candidate to unseat Ferrell’s character. Of course, the Motch brothers have their own agenda for picking Huggins as their candidate. And, of course, from there, the film is as predictable as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ divorce announcement.

The film is basically a “best-of” for both Ferrell and Galifianakis. Both men play variations on their best-known and most well-loved characters. Ferrell’s politician Cam Brady is basically a hybrid of his Saturday Night Live impression of George W. Bush meets Ron Burgundy, while Galifianakis’s Marty Huggins is basically his character from The Hangover with a fanny-pack, a weird Southern accent and a penchant for pugs. The characters are safe territory for these men, and they do not stray far from the path.

The Campaign succeeds the most in the moments where Ferrell and Galifianakis are actually playing off one another, either in a campaign debate or in a private conversation. These are two genuinely funny guys and although their characters are trite, they do have great comedic chemistry.

If you lower your expectations for The Campaign and expect nothing more than brain-numbing stupidity, you will like this film. This brand of “shock comedy” might be the only consistent element in a film that seems to be more concerned with setting up the next gag than producing any form of interesting plot line. Whether it’s inappropriate dinner table confessions, porta-potty “romance” or baby punching, The Campaign will likely prove to be the clear winner in this weekend’s box office election.