Recently, talking heads have been making a fuss about The Dark Knight Rises, and how Bane was clearly a shot at Bain Capital, a company run by presidential candidate Mitt Romney. However, if any one thing from films this summer that should get under the skins of pundits is the new political satire The Campaign.
The newest film directed by Jay Roach takes down the basic premise of politics from the inside – by having two dimwitted candidates battle for a Congress spot in their North Carolina district. One is Cam Brady (played by Will Ferrell), the returning congressman who has high hopes of one day getting to be Vice-President who just so happens to be running unopposed for the position yet again. But after numerous sex scandals come into fruition, The Motch Brothers (played by the always awesome John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd) decide to put their Republican hat (and money) into a relative nobody. Here enters number two, Marty Huggins (played by Zac Galifianakis), a pug-loving tour guide that knows nothing of politics. But after a serious makeover by his campaign manager Tim (Dylan McDermott), he becomes a serious threat to the reign of Brady.
Both Brady and Huggins stoop to incredibly shallow lows throughout the film, like shooting the other in the leg at point blank range, or calling the other a terrorist because of facial hair. These moments creates the biggest laughs for the movie by bringing simple aspects of an election and bringing them to the worst possible points. Is a second grade book entitled “Rainbowland” a cute book written by an elementary schooler…or a book celebrating the Communist agenda. We’ll let you be the judge. The chemistry between Ferrell and Galifianakis is outstanding. They can play off each other pretty well, making the scenes where they both are in contact rather perfect. Even Ferrell’s scenes with Jason Suideikis (his manager) are top notch and believable.
However funny those moments are, they get bogged down by the stale character building moments throughout. Even one of the biggest payoffs, when one of the candidates decides to tell the truth (shocking), misses on all accounts. Tim is also a downer, as his way too serious demeanor bogs each scene with him in it down. Seems like all the smaller characters that shadow Galifianakis (including his family late in the movie) weighs his story down.
The Campaign is a solid 85 minute comedy that helps bring some life in the dreadful times of the real campaign season. The characters, while complete idiots in their own rights, are rather likable. Some of the surrounding cast helps them out as well, putting out some rather hilarious scenes that will be quoted time and time again by years end. However, the more mellow scenes drags down the high of the hilarity, making the following parts have to build back up again. This is a good movie to see with friends and family, and one you may want to revisit later.
Final Grade: B-