Devon's Review of The Campaign
"The Campaign", the latest Will Ferrell comedy, is an uncharacteristic attempt at satire, with sights set on of all things, campaign finance. Meshing heady political satire with boob and fart jokes might seem an uneasy alliance, but this time Ferrell has the help of goofball Zach Galifianakis. Ferrell plays Cam Brady, a four-term senator from North Carolina who's running unopposed (in spite of his many scandals). Unopposed that is, until a pair of CEOs known as the Motch Brothers (John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd) see an opportunity to put their own personal puppet in the office. The puppet in question is Marty Huggins (Galifianakis), a hapless sap roped in by his wealthy father to be a patsy to these behind-the-scenes machinations. After dad hires a tough campaign manager (Dylan McDermott), Marty goes from creampuff to killer, and the campaign becomes a duel to see who can outwit and out-pander their opponent.
Will Ferrell plays a great dumb guy, but I think as an actor, he's just too likeable to play anyone who's truly evil in the movies. It's hard to laugh at someone who's malevolently/willfully dumb, and it's kind of hard to laugh at things which have been done by real life politicians at the expense of us, the american people (I lost interest in his George W. Bush impersonations for much the same reason). Ferrell's Cam Brady character is just kind of ugly and not enjoyable at all. The saving grace of the film is Galifianakis' character (based off a previously created character by Galifianakis, of a fictional twin brother named Seth Galifianakis). He's a weird cross between Truman Capote and Mr. Rogers, with perhaps a slight dusting of Richard Simmons thrown in for good measure. He and Ferrell mesh well together, but it's difficult to overcome the underlying ugliness. And when they try to jam in the boobs and farts, it feels like forced in appeasement. The Campaign is at best, a below-average Will Ferrell movie.