Monday, August 27, 2012

REVIEW: The Campaign

The Campaign

Will Ferrell, Zach Galifanakis


August 10, 2012

Jay Roach

Warner Bros. Pictures

1 hour 25 minutes



Some comedies this year, like '21 Jump Street,' were surprisingly fresh and hysterical. Other comedies, like 'The Watch,' failed to capture true comedy and instead relied heavily on bad sex jokes. 'The Campaign' is the latest film attempting to score big laughs and big love from audiences everywhere. Looking at the people working behind the film, this looked to be something that would be simply hilarious. It stars comedy superstars Will Ferrell and Zach Galifanakis as rival politicians, so that from the start looks like it might appeal to more than the usual fanbase for these actors. However the director of this film, Jay Roach, has made films with some crazy sexual humor, which includes the 'Austin Powers' trilogy, the first two 'Meet the Parents' films, and most recently the underrated 'Dinner for Schmucks.'  Plus one of the writers of this movie has worked with Ferrell, along with producer Adam McKay, on 'The Other Guys' prior to this. Unfortunately the film has more sexual humor than political humor, but that didn't stop the film from being absolutely hysterical at times. 'The Campaign' isn't the hilarious movie that I wanted to see, but it certainly was better than other comedies to come out this year.

Two CEO brothers, titled The Motch Brothers, want to gain influence over the district of North Carolina. To do that, they have to take out 5th term congressman Cam Brady and make a deal with a rival opponent in order to sell the 14th district of North Carolina to a foreign country. The person who they choose to go against the hot shot congressman is none other than Marty Huggins, who's considered to be both the sweetest man in the 14th district and a bit of an idiot. Now it's Brady vs. Huggins in a series of scandals, campaign ads, and religious ceremonies as they both try to win the election and become the congressman for North Carolina.

Will Ferrell, despite playing the same character he's played in films like 'Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby' and 'Blades of Glory,' gives the audience plenty of laughs to absorb throughout the film. It seems that Ferrell can work his magic best as the douche protagonist trying to get what he wants. Cam Brady gets into some crazy situations, as well as utters very funny lines throughout the film. As funny as Ferrell is in the film though, Galifanakis steals the show as Marty Huggins. He adopts a southern, feminine voice that once you hear it you automatically giggle a little bit. His character progressively gets into funnier situations as the film goes on, but Galifanakis alone is friggin hysterical in this movie.

The rivalry between the two comedians is a bit over the top, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't funny in many of the situations. The rest of the film's cast, including an Asian lady who's given an unusual request by a character played by Brian Cox, were all good and enjoyable in their parts. Unfortunately, they aren't given time to really show off their comedic talents, unlike Ferrell and Galifanakis. They're all funny actors, but they just weren't given much to do, despite being enjoyable in their parts. I blame the lack of humor from the supporting cast on the film's script.

The writers of 'The Campaign' have previously written a couple of Will Ferrell's most recent comedies, but those films weren't exactly popular with all audiences. There are jokes here that are incredibly offensive to people, but they are hilarious when presented on screen. There are even some situations, including the now famous "Baby-Punching" scene that will have the audience crying from so much laughter. Unfortunately, all of these jokes lie in the first half of the movie. The second half is not only less funny than the first half, but the film takes a plunge there and becomes a little boring. For an 85 minute running time, this film feels longer while sitting in it. Plus it tries to go for a sweet heart, despite being a raunchy comedy, and surprisingly it does work well in here. However the second half is much weaker than the outrageous first half and that takes away from the full enjoyment of this movie.

'The Campaign' is a better and cruder film than something like 'Ted.' However unlike 'Ted,' this film didn't take any risks with its R rating and didn't feel new as the film drew to a close. Sure, there was some racy and crazy stuff that went on in this movie that was really enjoyable. Unfortunately once the second half came into view, the jokes became more dull and the plot became predictable and something we've already seen plenty of times prior. The acting is good from everyone, despite the supporting cast not being able to shine much. When the comedy hits, it hits hard. When it doesn't, it falls flat. The thing about the comedy is that it's more sexual related comedy than political humor, and that was also a disappointment to me since the trailers promised a political comedy with some sexual innuendos. If someone is looking for a hardcore political comedy, then they might want to stay away from this until DVD. 'The Campaign' falls between the awful comedies of the year and the great comedies. This is just a good comedy, but it could have been so much more.



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