The obvious is stated clearly within the opening minutes of ‘The Campaign’ – politicians are shady, corporate types run the show and the democratic system of voting is the most ludicrous popularity contest on Earth. These ideas are not new in the realm of political satire but ‘The Campaign’ is the most easily digestible stab at Government in the flavour of Will Ferrell and Zach Galifiankis.
Congressman Cam Brady (Ferrell) has a good life in North Carolina where he runs unopposed in every election. For the first time in his career he faces competition when the odd Marty Huggins (Galifinakis) announces his candidacy for congress.
Sometimes politics can be silly and Ferrell and Galifinakis use their brand of goofball humor to make fun of the American political system. Ferrell works on his usual act of random profanity, a key scene where he freaks out and enough dialogue to keep his fans quoting it endlessly until ‘Anchorman 2’ is released. Galifinakis fares better and manages to shake off the ghost of Allan from ‘The Hangover’ and do something different with Huggins, who is hilarious and provides many of the film’s best moments.
Dylan McDermott does a fine job in support as a fierce campaign manager while Sarah Baker and child actors Grant Goodman and Kya Haywood are fantastic playing the Huggins family.
Director Jay Roach keeps escalating the comedy with the ridiculousness of each individual character’s campaign and there are great observations on everything from fear mongering political commercials and how bad press spreads in a 24 hour news cycle.
After picking apart the American democratic system for a majority of the film a last minute dose of sentimentality and some time on the soap box preaching about the evils of corporate America shows the content is too lightweight to be making a serious point.
‘The Campaign’ combines breezy political jabs with mainstream comic sensibilities successfully. The duo makes a great comedic pairing and the Ferrell/Galifinakis era of films may have just begun.
The Popcorn Junkie