Review: 'The Campaign' Is Smart, Funny, Raunchy & Crude
August 9th, 2012 8:00am EDT
Seeing as it’s an election year, we’re all familiar with the bickering from the left, from the right, and those in between. The election process in this “united” country can sometimes get so crazy, you just have to sit back, laugh, and try to decipher who’s who, what’s what, and most importantly… try to figure out how candidates “serve us” considering we pay their salaries.
Dramas like "Casino Jack" (2010) and "The Ides Of March (2011), to comedies like "Thank You For Smoking" (2006) and "The Distinguished Gentleman" (1992) have portrayed the somewhat ugly side of the system. Whether we cringe or laugh along with Hollywood’s political films, most of us in this country tend to ignore and/or deny wrongdoing from our leaders. But the truth is, corruption has, is, and will forever be part of human nature’s way to obtain, divide and conquer.
"The Campaign" is the latest to join the list of politically driven films – it’s smart, funny, raunchy, crude, contemporary, and speaks the jargon that appeals to the masses.
When long-term Congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) drops a major ball before an upcoming election, a pair of dirty, rotten, scoundrel power brokers (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) plot to put up a rival candidate and obtain influence over their North Carolina 14th district. Their man: gullible, nerdish, pushover Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), director of the local tourism center.
At first, Marty appears to be an unusual choice, but with the help of his new benefactors’ support and a cutthroat campaign manger (Dylan McDermott), he soon becomes a barking contender who gives ‘Charismatic Cam’ a lot to worry about.
As Election Day closes in, the two are locked in a dead heat, with harsh insults quickly escalating to injury until all they care about is burying each other. It’s a mud-slinging, back-stabbing, home-wrecking comedy from director Jay Roach (no stranger to political flicks: HBO’s "Recount" (2008) and "Game Change" (2012)) that takes today’s political three-ring-circus to the next level.
Although the script tends to stumble from time to time, the art of political ugliness is expressed in a way which isn't too far off. Sure, there’s a bit much in terms of TV attack ads or debates, but its core isn’t too far off from what we actually see during elections, and a lot of the film’s sweet justice goes to the usual antics portrayed by Will Ferrell and Zach Galafianakis. In other words, you all know what to expect.
Covering subjects that are pretty common in American politics (i.e., lack of rules, religion, business, the rich wanting more and more at any cost, and overly “patriotic,” reactive followers), "The Campaign" is a fun film to watch considering the real campaign going on today. Therefore, a comedic approach is great to endure during these divisive days of politics.
Personally, I can see this film being forgotten somewhere down the line; however, "The Campaign" gives you something to laugh about while it makes the reality of it easier to swallow, instead of watching biased news networks, which can be overwhelmingly intimidating and scary. In conclusion, it's the only campaign that’s piqued my interest.
GRADE: B / Genre: Comedy / Rated: R / Run Time: 85 Minutes
Starring: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis
Directed by: Jay Roach
Photo Credits: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.