The Campaign – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

campaignThe Campaign – 3/5 – This is a review for a DVD/blu-ray released comedy film.  I can say it is a comedy film, but it was more of a spoof of politics then a straight comedy.  In this, it makes the film a different kind of ‘Will Ferrell’ film.  A Will Ferrell movie usually has a lot of slapstick and ‘in your face’ humor.  This one falls far from the tree of his traditional shtick, but even so, The Campaign will not surprise anyone.

Premise: Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) has run unopposed in North Carolina for four terms.  When he becomes a liability, the Motch brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd) recruit Marty Huggins (Zach Galinfianakis), the son of a Republican heavy hitter, to run against him and be their vehicle to establish an ‘in sourcing’ of cheap labor in the county.  In the fight to get the final vote, hilarity ensues, friendships and morals are tested, and the ultimate question is, will you compromise yourself for the almighty vote?

In the main roles of the politicians of Cam Brady and Marty Huggins, we have Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis respectfully.  As Cam Brady, Ferrell gives us a comical but clichéd styled politicians.  You see he knows all the tricks of the trade, and will work dirty (in funny ways) to win that vote.  As always, the shtick is prevalent at times in this role, but because Ferrell has great comedic timing, he makes certain situations ‘laugh out loud’ funny even when it is common and predictable.  Ferrell does a good job in mixing his comedy with the aspects of politics in this film, but it isn’t anything that will feel refreshing, because you’ve seen this type of character before.  Galifianakis as Marty Huggins is someone that is atypical to his style of comedy.  He provides a flamboyant but ‘family oriented’ figure, that is both an aloof but charming on screen.  His comedic elements in this differencing role are more situational then ‘in your face’ like Ferrell’s, but is still funny when timed right.  What makes his character more lovable is a ‘realistic’ quality he has for the Huggins character.  This helps in contrast to Cam Brady, and gives two distinct individuals, which you will enjoy watching on screen.  In the supporting cast, we have many big names littered throughout the film.  You have the Motch Brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd) the campaign managers for each side (Dylan McDermott and Jason Sudeikis) and the father of Huggins (Brian Cox).  There isn’t really anything out of the ordinary (performance wise) in these characters, and they play their roles as good as they could with the thin script.  The roles they play are very much archetypes of political satire, just placed in certain points in the movie to infuse the political side of the film, helping the main two characters progress through the film.

The direction of the film is a mix of comedic styles of the two main actors with a political slant.  In the film, the basics are that you have these two individuals (Cam Brady and Marty Huggins) battling for the votes in the 14th district in North Carolina.  As this is the basic premise, everything else just flows along this simple, linear line of what happens in politics, with a more comedic element (campaigning, debates, pact money, and the mudslinging).  There isn’t anything dramatic or emotional involving through the whole aspect of the film; the reliance of any entertaining value is around the dynamic of Will Ferrell and Zack Galinfianakis in their roles.  With this, you get very downright, funny scenes that are stringed together with the satirical aspects of politics in-between these scenes.  In this, you have spurts of great comedic elements that are complimented with dull situations.  A lot of the scenarios are predictable and obvious even before they are revealed, but for the most part, you will laugh.  Once the film hits the climax, it trends down the road of being ‘heartfelt’, but it is the comedy that adds closure to the film in the end.  In putting emphasize on clichés, predictability and lack thereof with story progression, you knew that this film wasn’t intent on pleasing everyone.  Its purpose was to be a comedy for a specific audience.

Overall, The Campaign is basically a throw away kind of film.  You aren’t going to be impressed by any dynamics, but you will be entertained.  Ferrell and Galinfianakis give funny characters, and the rest of the cast helps infuse this comedy throughout the film.  Lots of predictability here, but if you’re looking for a film to catch on your down time, or a quick rental, this is one for you.

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