Review: The Campaign

Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell face off in The Campaign

The Foul Mouth and The Republican

Rating: **
Jay Roach’s The Campaign starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis is a modern-day retelling of the David and Goliath story set in the political underbelly of North Carolina. According to the film, the Republicans are David. And not just that, there are plenty of references to the 2012 political scene. Cam Brady (Ferrell) enjoys a good run as the Democratic Congressman of the unnamed 14th District. However, his campaign is closely watched by corrupt businessmen – The Motch Brothers, played by Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow, which of course is a play on the real life Koch Brothers, who heavily funded Mitt Romney in the 2012 elections.

The Motch siblings bring up an underdog tourism director Marty Huggins (Galifianakis) as the Republican candidate. I’m unaware as to how a person with no political knowledge can actually run a district. But, be aware that this is as close as the film gets to reality. The rest is totally “off the hook”.

Former Saturday Night Live member Ferrell is a genius when it comes to rude humour and he excels in The Campaign. And, with current SNL member Jason Sudeikis at his side, comedy moves up a notch. I’m wondering why Galifianakis use a fake voice? His real voice is fine, considering it was his deadpan humour in The Hangover that won him acclaim.

The film also stars Dylan McDermott as a professional spin doctor for Huggins. McDermott’s uptight attitude is chaotically funny and so are his answers to every question Huggins poses. Roach’s repertoire includes the highly successful Meet The Parents and Austin Powers. The Campaign has plenty of blind spots. I wrote the following in my Dinner For Shmucks review:

“Jay Roach uses the short route and attempts to convert melodrama into swanky mush… Adding drama and humor to the same dish, Roach succeeds only in laughter count.”

The film ends with a lot of heart and absolutely no screenplay, which is just the way any badly written lighthearted comedy would end. It’s as if Ferrell was asked to speak some heart-warming words and do what’s right. And, let me tell you, I was groaning when that happened. Why do fairy tale endings have to be recycled?

 

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