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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 19, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Accent

Review: ‘The Campaign’ rallies up good comedy

 

With election season approaching, Hollywood wouldn’t miss the opportunity for another raunchy political comedy. “The Campaign” takes advantage of the national attention on the upcoming November election, and steers it in a funny, yet forgettable, direction.

Cam Brady (Will Ferrell), a smug, smooth-talking Republican candidate seeking Congressional reelection in North Carolina, is challenged by Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), a small town, lisp-stricken softy with no political experience.

The film satirically strikes at American politics being fake, money-drenched and media-driven, evolving into a ridiculous process that is less about real issues than it is about a plastic façade. For example, Brady gets busted for a romantic affair when a sexually explicit voicemail is released.

The casting of Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis provides the film with a solid comedic leg to stand on. However, the film suffers from inconsistency, constantly switching from clever to crass and losing its firm humorous footing in the process. This degrades not only the film’s inevitable comparisons with other political comedies, like “Thank You For Smoking,” but also its overall message.

“The Campaign” isn’t all lost, though. Ferrell and Galifianakis bring some of their funniest comedic moments to date to the screen with both slapstick humor — like when Huggins shoots Brady in the leg and moves ahead in the polls as a result — and cleverness. For instance, in one debate, Huggins challenges Brady to repeat the Lord’s Prayer to prove that he is a man of true conservative values. When Brady fails, his campaign manager attempts to act out the words to him from the sidelines like a game of charades, and the scene escalates to a hilarious conclusion.

Director Jay Roach has helmed notable comedies in the past: “Austin Powers” (1997), “Meet the Parents” (2000) and “Borat” (2006). Politics isn’t entirely new to his repertoire, as he recently directed the HBO political drama “Game Change” (2012). His experience pays off with a satire that takes real-world political scandals, soaks them in absurdity and exaggerates them tenfold.

“The Campaign” is a success because it easily evokes laughs from its audience. However, its silliness results in a somewhat forgettable summer comedy. As Huggins exclaims in his rallies, “Bring your brooms, ‘cause it’s a mess!”

  With election season approaching, Hollywood wouldn’t miss the opportunity for another raunchy political comedy. “The Campaign” takes advantage of the national attention on the upcoming November election, and steers it in a funny, yet forgettable, direction. Cam Brady (Will Ferrell), a smug, smooth-talking Republican candidate seeking Congressional reelection in North Carolina, is challenged by