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Movie Review: ‘The Campaign’

Political Satire Runs Only Half the Race

By Victoria Ku
Epoch Times Staff
Created: August 11, 2012 Last Updated: August 15, 2012
Related articles: Arts & Entertainment » Movies & TV
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Will Ferrell (L) as Congressman Cam Brady, and Jason Sudeikis (R) as Brady’s campaign manager in the comedy “The Campaign.” (Patti Perret/ Warner Bros. Pictures)

Will Ferrell (L) as Congressman Cam Brady, and Jason Sudeikis (R) as Brady’s campaign manager in the comedy “The Campaign.” (Patti Perret/ Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Campaign
Director: Jay Roach
Cast: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott, Katherine LaNasa, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Rating: R for crude sexual content, language, and brief nudity

Long-term congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) is running for office unopposed again and is guaranteed to win without much effort. But he makes a big public mistake that hurts his campaign.

When this happens, the wealthy, powerful Motch brothers (played by John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd) decide to fund an opponent to win the votes of the North Carolina district, while scheming to “insource” sweatshops in order to triple their wealth.

John Lithgow (L) and Dan Aykroyd (R) in the comedy “The Campaign,” a film about a pair of ultra-wealthy CEOs (played by Lithgow and Aykroyd) who plot to put up a rival candidate and gain influence over their North Carolina district. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

John Lithgow (L) and Dan Aykroyd (R) in the comedy “The Campaign,” a film about a pair of ultra-wealthy CEOs (played by Lithgow and Aykroyd) who plot to put up a rival candidate and gain influence over their North Carolina district. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

The Motch brothers choose Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), who is the most unlikely candidate. Huggins is a simple-minded man who loves his wife, his pugs, and never had much of a competitive bone in his body. He is content with his day-to-day life and doesn’t crave much more, except just the affection and approval of his father.

Huggins is a pawn in the Motch brothers’ plot, someone they can easily manipulate into whomever they want him to be.

Faced with an opponent for the first time after many consecutive terms in office, Cam Brady finds himself growing more and more competitive, and the political campaign turns into a mud-slinging war.

Ferrell and Galifianakis are two comedic powerhouses so natural together onscreen that they become one gigantic cluster of hysterical banter and fun. Their political debates are the golden moments that really give the film its backbone.

While loaded with “Saturday Night Live”-like humor and topnotch actors, “The Campaign” runs out of jokes by the halfway mark and starts to look for an escape route.

Supporting actors Sarah Baker (who plays Huggins’s loving wife) and Jason Sudeikis are easily overlooked, as they aren’t used to their full potential. Sudeikis plays Cam’s buddy campaign manager, Mitch, who gets shoved aside and abused despite his continuous efforts to help Cam’s campaign.

Karen Maruyama is a scene-stealer, playing a sassy housekeeper for Huggins’s father.

Experienced comedy director Jay Roach (“Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery,” “Meet the Fockers”) provides a great satirical commentary on our current political state, yet it quickly fizzles to a screeching halt with an underwhelming conclusion.

“The Campaign” may be fun to watch given Ferrell and Galifianakis’ comedic A-game, but it ultimately falls a bit flatter than expected.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

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