Real life politics are insanely stupid. They’re laughable, nasty, infuriating, and divisive all at the same time. You really don’t need to watch a comedy such as The Campaign to get the same level of entertainment, and anyone who follows politics or the current presidential campaigns would probably agree. Sometimes I forget just how moronic politics can be until someone does something really dumb, like have an affair or get caught saying something offensive to any one group of people. Having a movie to add to the whole shebang is just an added bonus to me, and having the main characters being played by comedians like Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis like having that cherry soaked in alcohol and cocaine.
Some may say that Will Ferrell has lost his edge, or that he isn’t as funny as he once was back in his SNL days. Others would say that Zach Galifianakis is a little too weird for them and his characters are one-dimensional. Both statements aren’t necessarily wrong, but in the case of The Campaign I can easily say that they don’t apply here. Both actors showed what they are truly capable of, which is making a movie that will have you laughing from beginning to end credits.
Two powerful CEOs pit a blundering congressman against an unlikely political newcomer inorder to seize control of a crucial North Carolina district in this satirical political comedy starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. On the eve of an upcoming election, incumbent congressman Cam Brady (Ferrell) makes a misstep that threatens to end his career in politics. Recognizing the opportunity to gain influence in the aftermath of the public gaffe, a pair of scheming CEOs handpick credulous tourism-center director Marty Huggins (Galifianakis) as Brady’s political rival, quickly shaping him into a viable candidate with the help of a seasoned campaign manager. As Election Day draws near, Brady and Huggins cast ethics aside to engage in the brand of hysterical mud slingingthat’s sent contemporary politics straight down the toilet. Jason Sudeikis, John Lithgow, and Brian Cox co-star.
It’s pretty safe to say that the trailer for this movie absolutely does NOT give you all the punch lines to the jokes. Sure, there are a couple that they use to sell you the movie, but there are so many more that they couldn’t put in the trailer that had me rolling on the floor with laughter. In addition to Will and Zach, there is a pretty good supporting cast in this film and a couple of actors that steal some scenes, which was a nice surprise. If you think that this is another formulaic SNL produced Sandler-esque bomb, you’re wrong.
The Campaign is basically about a seasoned incumbent “Cam Brady” (Will Ferrell) being challenged by a homegrown newcomer “Marty Huggins” (Zach Galifianakis) for congress. Ferrell’s character “Cam Brady” is a little dirtier, a little sleazier, and way more foul-mouthed, while Zach’s “Marty Huggins” is sweeter, somewhat conservative, more gullible, and slightly more conniving than “Cam”. There are plenty of scenes in this movie that pits these characters against one another with some hilarious pay-offs. In one of the more ridiculous scenes “Marty” and “Cam” are in a town hall style debate and “Marty” reads something that “Cam” wrote in first grade about living in an idealistic world of “Rainbows” and tries to tell everyone that it’s communistic propaganda. This leads to people in the crowd fighting over not wanting to vote for a character that is a Nazi.
Some of the other more memorable scenes are “Cam” punching a baby, “Marty” having a confessional dinner with his family, and most notably the maid of “Marty’s” father. I will definitely not spoil any of the jokes for you here, but let me just say that the maid in this movie is probably one of the most memorable characters to come out of ANY comedy this year. The theater was busting up whenever she was on screen and it’s worth noting that the actress that played her (Karen Maruyama) hit it out of the park! I have seen her in a few bit parts here and there but it’s nice to see another Groundling make it on to the big screen and really make the most of it. If there is one character besides the leads that people will be talking about, it is the character of the maid. I don’t even want to tell you the characters name because I don’t want to ruin the joke for you, she’s that funny.
In addition to Karen Maruyama doing a great job, there were plenty of cameos (Dennis Miller, Bill Maher, Piers Morgan, Chris Matthews, Willie Geist, etc.), as well as seasoned vets in the supporting cast. John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd did a good job at playing the “Motch” brothers who are funding the campaign and serving as the puppet masters. Dylan McDermott’s “Tim Wattley” was a fun spin on the campaign manager, and both Katherine LaNasa and Sarah Baker had great performance as the wives of both candidates. Even the child actors in this movie werefunny, without being over the top.
So, if you are still on the fence and not sure if you want to go see this movie, let me add that it’s directed by Jay Roach of Meet the Parents, Dinner for Schmucks, and all the Austin Powers movies. This is a guy who knows comedy pretty well and politics, because he is also responsible for Game Change and Recount. Do I really need to sell it any more?
If you haven’t already figured it out, I liked this movie. I liked it a lot actually. It’s probably the first comedy of the year that not only surprised me at how funny it is, but also was unique and had characters with depth, believe it or not. This is probably not the type of comedy that you would want to take the kids to go watch, but for an adult night out or to go see with some friends, it’s perfect. I would only expect (and hope) that there would be a sequel to this movie that has the lead actors team up somehow (possibly running for president?) and bring in a couple more characters that are just as absurd and hilarious “Marty” and “Cam”.
I am Sam Olecki, and I seductively approve this message.
5 out of 5 Bags