Matt’s Review: ‘The Campaign’ is Full of Political Hijinks, Laughs, and Comedic OverkillBy
When a comedic duo like Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis are pitted against one another as political opponents one thing can be guaranteed from that film: it will feature a fair share of laughs. This definitely holds true in The Campaign. The film features a lot of great laughs, but also a lot of misses. It is definitely worthy of theater dollars, but it isn’t going to be considered a ‘classic’ by anyone.
Will Ferrell stars as Cam Brady, a Democratic Congressman who runs unopposed in his North Carolina district. In steps the soft-spoken oddball Marty Huggins (Galifianakis) who runs against the secret sex hound Brady. At first Huggins doesn’t stand a chance against the well established campaign of Brady, but then he gets a big boost from some corrupt conglomerate fat cats (John Lithgow and Dan Akroyd) who support him in hope to use him as a government puppet. As the race heats up, the gloves come off as the pair set out to destroy the competition in whatever way possible, which leads to hilarious slanderous commercials, sex tapes, and outright brawls.
As I said above, the film is very funny and made me laugh hysterically on a few occasions. But The Campaign tries so hard too often as goes over the top too much to really strike gold. Many of the less apparent jokes were the funniest parts, poking fun at politics and how ludicrous the current climate of red vs. blue is. The antics of punching a baby (a CGI nightmare, good Lord did it look awful) and ridiculous sex tapes are attempts at catering to a wider, and simply put, a dumber audience, and those type of over the top pieces really fell flat for me.
The comedic value also really hit the skids in the last third as The Campaign gets overly sentimental, losing its momentum created by the slew of laughs. It’s not that the film needs to be all laughs, all the time, but it definitely finishes too serious with Cameron Crowe like sentiment. With the laughs mostly over, my enjoyment decreases significantly in a film such as this.
The film itself has some to say about the political machine without being too heavy-handed. The film spotlights the corruption behind how campaigns are funded and how politicians ideals are thrown aside to fit a mold for the ability to actually be in the race. It also brings to light tactics, the inner workings of campaigns, and how media influence can change races. The film says all this without without really commenting on it, something to expect in a R-rated comedy full of slapstick humor.
Overall, The Campaign has enough laughs to keep those looking for lewd humor happy and doesn’t waste too much time commenting on the political landscape to annoy those (most people in our country) who want to keep away from the raging war between red and blue. Ferrell and Galifianakis are great together and star in so many memorable scenes as opponents. The film is kept from being a classic in the genre from failing to properly mix the drama and comedy — I also can’t readily rewatch a film that relies so heavily on such moronic humor.
What Should You Do? See it if you are looking for a good laugh. If you aren’t a fan of either of these leading men, skip it.