August 31, 2012
Cast: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, Brian Cox
Director: Jay Roach
Unable to decide if it wants to be a demented comedy or a cheeky political satire, The Campaign starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, is a promising but inconsistent film that takes some well-deserved jabs at the ridiculous business of American politics.
Ferrell stars as Cam Brady, a sleazy North Carolina congressman who expects to run unopposed for a fifth term, but finds himself pitted against a dim-witted political amateur, Marty Huggins (Galifianakis), when Brady’s sexual peccadillos become public. The film is essentially a series of back-and-forths between both candidates as they attempt to sabotage each other’s campaigns, with some help from their respective managers (Jason Sudeikis and a deliciously vile Dylan McDermott).
Many of the gags are genuinely funny, particularly one in which the two men spot a mother holding a baby at an election rally, and both rush to hold the little one first, realizing the potential of a favorable photo-op. What happens next is sheer slapstick gold. The problem is that this screwball humor suddenly makes way for not-particularly-insightful social commentary (with thinly veiled references to major players), and as a result you’re left with a film that’s neither this nor that.
I’m going with two out of five for The Campaign. Ferrell and Galifianakis are good. But they deserve better, and so do we.
(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)