The Campaign

Oh yeah. Definitely cracked me up. :D

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.

B+

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21 thoughts on “The Campaign

  1. I knew it! I knew this movie would be descent. I am so excited. I know you were kinda on the fence, but after Comic-Con, you kinda changed your tune. See…I actually listen and read your comments. LOL I can’t wait to watch it. I didn’t read your whole review, because I didn’t want to chance it with spoilers. But…when I think about it, you usually say before hand if there is any spoilers. Let me know, if it’s okay to read your review.

    • Heh. So I’m not just babbling to myself? People actually listen? That IS good to hear!

      No spoilers. I didnt discuss anything not shown in the trailers. :D

      It was funny Jen. I dont know why I didnt connect with the trailers, but… well, seeing Ferrell in Galifianakis promoting it live has a way of changing your opinion! Didnt influence my opinion on the movie though. It genuinely was damn funny. LOL

  2. I’m looking forward to seeing this. Both guys are hit-and-miss, but when they “hit” it’s hard to stop laughing. Glad you dug it, Fogs, that makes me feel better about checking it out.

    Also, thanks for supporting my AM Fantasy League selection :D

  3. I really just wanted this to bite a little harder. Well, okay, a LOT harder. It’s soft. You can’t have political satire turn into a Frank Capra movie where the protagonists learn valuable life lessons in humility and compassion, and also tie up the antagonists’ arcs neatly as you punish their misdeeds. I wish we lived in a world where the Koch…er, Motch brothers could be viciously taken down a hundred pegs on a national stage, but we don’t.

    It’s still funny as hell– Dylan McDermott slew me– so that redeems it. But I wanted so much more out of it. Ferrell and Galifianakis are having a great time, though.

    • Yeah, I couldnt call it a classic or anything. It’s fun enough, and it definitely kept me laughing, but its not even really an attempt a high production value comedy… It’s a light comedy, that’s about it.

      What it does it does well though, I had a lot of fun watching these two lose their minds. :D I never expected anything heavy (ier) out of it. No surprise to me at all that the movie is basically commentary free.

  4. I’m sorry Fogs, I could not disagree more strenuously. This thing was awful and this is coming from someone who follows politics and thinkk Will Ferrel is brilliant. When I saw him hit the baby in the trailer, I was hooked. But using the bit again SPOILER ALERT with a dog. C’mon man.

    • Well, I’ll agree there, I didnt think that second time was funny, nor having the dog be who it was…

      But I laughed, I found the whole thing funny at times. That DWI stop didnt crack you up? Or the sex tape ad? LOL I liked it.

      I didnt go too overboard with the grade cause I realized it wasnt any kind of new comedy classic or anything, but I definitely liked it… sorry you didnt man. :(

  5. Pingback: Weekly Weblinks: Avengers and Abominations | Morgan on Media

  6. Agree with your every comment. I reviewed this one on my blog and the sentiment is pretty much the same. Its a funny flick that brings some solid laughs!

    Loving your reviews!

    • Cool, man! Thanks for checking them out.

      Yeah, “The Campaign” won’t wind up on anyone’s top ten lists or anything, but it was funny and fun enough. It’s definitely a check in the plus column for both of these two.

  7. I admit to skipping it. I find my tolerance for humor styles I don’t like far lower for my tolerance for bad action films or bad horror films. Now, this isn’t about bad comedies so much as it is about style of comedies. While I really really like Aykroyd and Lithgow in general, I dislike Ferrell to an extent that my dislike of him is enought to overide my appreciation of the other two and I feel a total absence of interest, desire, or curiosity about the film.

    Now one might say, “If you don’t like the film, why bother reading or commenting?” But what I find interesting is how peoples reactions to the actors themselves can influence what they decide to skip.

    There are actors that are so good their skills and performances can make people set aside what they don’t like about the person as a person. There are actors that people generally liked but start to unforgivable things in real life that we lose all desire to watch their movies. There are actors that are so great at what the do that people will go see their bad movies just to see how they handled a bad script or bad direction. Then there are actors we really like as people but they just keep picking back films and it just hurts to watch their movies.

    Ferrel is one of those triggers that will turn me off on a movie.

    • If you dont like Ferrell, this is definitely not for you.

      Meanwhile, doesnt bother me if you want to share opinions related to topics without having seen the movie, LOL, That definitely doesnt slow anybody else down. :D

      I don’t happen to share your opinion on him, I think he’s hysterical, but I can see how he wouldnt be everyone’s cup of tea.

      ” There are actors that people generally liked but start to unforgivable things in real life that we lose all desire to watch their movies.” Yup, there sure are. Mel Gibson springs immediately to mind. I’d love to do some MTESS posts on some of his films, but I just cant bring myself to do it. He’s got three or 4 at least, but I cant even watch them myself now, let alone recommend them to others!

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