Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Campaign

Directed by Jay Roach.
2012. Rated R, 85 minutes.
Dylan McDermott
Sarah Baker
Katherine LaNasa
Karen Maruyama
Thomas Middleditch

Cam Brady (Ferrell) is so popular he is about to be elected to his fifth term as Congressman for the 14th district in North Carolina. Until he places an errant and sexually explicit phone call, that is. Sensing the end of Brady’s career, the billionaire Motch brothers (Aykroyd and Lithgow) set up the naïve Marty Huggins (Galifianakis) as a puppet candidate to run against him. Hijinks and shenanigans ensue.

If you’re looking for a razor sharp political satire, look elsewhere. What we have here is the political process taken to its most absurd extremes. That the two candidates play dirty goes without saying. The depths to which they sink are the things we imagine possible if the people who ran for office were allowed to really engage in a no-holds barred campaign. For instance, the commercials they put together go far beyond the limits of good taste. This isn't to say there are no merits to this approach to the material. Even through the zaniness we can catch glimpses of the situations that obviously inspired the movie. And perhaps it is stinging commentary that there is absolutely no difference in how the two parties are portrayed.

Your political leanings aside, what will really inform whether or not you like this film is how you feel about its stars. After all, they’re both on full blast right from the start. Cam Brady is nothing short of former Senator John Edwards crossed with Ferrell’s Ricky Bobby. Huggins is a true Galifianakis creation: an odd, naïve man who really wants to do the right thing but often has trouble pulling off the trick. To be sure, both men have their moments. That said, you already know if you find either, neither or both of them funny.

MY SCORE: 6/10

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