Smile Politely

A Campaign not worth financing

The Campaign stars Will Farrell and Zach Galifianakis as political opponents running against each other for congressman of North Carolina. Will Farrell’s character, Cam Brady, is used to running unopposed, but this changes when his financial supporters Glenn and Wade Motch (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) decide that he doesn’t reflect their long-term interest anymore. The Motch Brothers decide to ask Galfianakis’ character to run against Brady and he agrees because he knows it will make his father Raymond Huggins (Brian Cox) proud. The two political rivals square off and chaos ensues as each character seeks to try and prove he is a better leader for the state of North Carolina.

The Campaign is a simple and predictable movie. Stupid and funny things are bound to occur in any movie in which two high profile comedic actors are pitted against each other in a political setting. The problem is that this film didn’t take the idea of politics in comedy in any new or unique directions. In fact, if you have seen any of the trailers for The Campaign, you already know most of the funniest jokes in the film, so if you do choose to see it, there will be very few surprises.

Another of the film’s issues is that anyone who’s watched the television show Saturday Night Live within the last two decades will know that Will Farrell’s bread and butter is parodying political figures. Cam Brady is basically a cocktail mix of U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. This concoction of political personalities failed to impress me most of the time. I know that I was technically not supposed to believe that Cam Brady could exist in reality, but believing in him as a person would have made the physical jokes he used much more plausible.

Zach Galifianakis’s character, Marty Huggins, is someone for whom I could feel sympathy. Galifianakis works hard to become a strong political figure and his effort really shows despite playing such a dim-witted character. I think The Campaign could have worked as a film if it focused solely on the character of Marty Huggins and had cast an unknown as his opponent. Having an unknown actor counterbalance Marty’s stupidity would have made the film more interesting and given Galifianakis someone to really play against.

The biggest surprise in this film is an actress named Karen Maruyama. She plays Raymond Higgins’ maid and she does something that is both funny and simultaneously very offensive in the film. If you are easily offended you may actually hate this character. I found myself laughing hysterically at her actions. However, aside from Maruyama’s surprisingly funny performance, there are few “laugh out loud” moments.

The Campaign goes for very easy laughs and makes spending $7.50 at the theater a mistake for anyone who enjoys comedy. This is one campaign I can’t recommend financing.

Two Stars.


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