Oh yeah. Definitely cracked me up.
I’m not sure if it will get a lot of votes, but it definitely has mine.
“The Campaign” revolves around a Republican Congressional campaign in a district of North Carolina. Incumbent Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) has been running unopposed for years, but when he accidentally dials the wrong number and leaves a dirty voicemail intended for his mistress on the answering machine of a staunchly religious family, his approval ratings plummet. Two brothers representing the influence of big business (played by Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) decide that they have a window of opportunity to sponsor a candidate of their own, in order to further legislation that would be profitable to them, at the direct expense of the district.
They turn to the son of a former politician, Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis). Huggins is an odd man who runs the local, lowly attended tourist establishment. He’s the black sheep of his family, the runt of the litter, so to speak. His own family is sheltered and odd as well. His wife is overweight and lonely, and his children each have odd behavioral issues. Huggins himself goes through life with a blissful, blind happy attitude; walking his pugs and collecting calendars with pictures of animals dressed in people clothes. The monied interests supporting his campaign send in a shadowy, killer campaign manager to reinvent his image and shepherd his candidacy, however, and the change in Marty begins.
The sudden challenge of an actual race unbalances Brady. He begins to campaign in earnest, and punching below the belt. He throws out attack ads associating Huggins with the Taliban and Al Qaeda, even though the claims are entirely unsubstantiated. This leads Huggins to call out Brady for his fake religious posturing. When Brady can’t correctly recite the Lord’s prayer, things begin to really get nasty between the two. They take turns sinking to new lows throughout the campaign as they keep exchanging places atop the polls. I don’t want to spoil the shock of some of the things the two do for “bumps” in the polls, suffice it to say there is no line they won’t cross.
Comedy is a funny beast to review. I can see how this movie wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you’re not a fan of Ferrell. His character is the louder comedic presence in the film, not that he has more screen time, it’s just that Galifianakis’ character is odd and soft-spoken, while Ferrell is loud and brash. But if you are a fan of Ferrell’s, you’re in for a treat. Brady actually isn’t as goofy as Ron Burgundy or Ricky Bobby but he certainly does plenty of outrageous, goofy things. He had me dying at points with some of the stuff he did. Galifianakis is much more low-key, but he’s no less funny. Huggins is odd and offbeat, but then seeing him toughen up and fight like a man is funny as well. The characters and their dialogue are both funny, but the situations are funny as well. Cam’s DWI stop, religious snake handling and “sex tape ad” are all hysterical. And the way each of them cross the lines over the course of the campaign is great.
It’s not the weightiest of comedies, by any means. It takes the central gag, creates two funny characters to support it, and then strings together a comical series of events along the way for them to go through. If people can’t connect to the two leads, they’re in trouble here, but if you’re a fan of either or both, I think you’re in for a really good time. I know I laughed frequently, and I enjoyed myself beginning to end.