The Campaign (2012)
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If you just want to see a simple movie that will make you laugh without having to think about the plot, then see the movie.
North Carolina congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) has fallen into a leisurely routine of false promises and general negligence in his duties as the longtime unopposed representative. But after an obscene phone call to the wrong person finds Brady's approval rating drastically down, corporate bigwigs Glenn (John Lithgow) and Wade Motch (Dan Aykroyd), decide to replace him with someone they can easily control for their own devious schemes. Their candidate is mild-mannered Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), a tourism enthusiast with naïve ideas of bettering his hometown. When Huggins announces his candidacy, and the stunned Brady quickly introduces him to the sinister world of politics, the battlefield is set for copious smear campaigns, name tarnishing and disgraceful machinations to destroy each other's reputations. But as the debates get dirtier and the backstabbing more barbaric, both candidates begin to question how far they'll go to win – and what they're willing to lose.
The Campaign has an amusing premise. It examines the corruption, general crookedness, and underhanded big business influences behind politics, employing a wildly satirical viewpoint coupled with abrasive language and hysterical visual gags. "When you've got the money, nothing's unpredictable," insists Glenn Motch, defining his wealthy persuasions over chancy voters. An underdog candidate is uprooted from unremarkableness to be subjected to an immoderate transformation, itself an entertaining feat, for the sake of molding a puppet for exploitive moneymen. And he is to combat a long unopposed, professional politician, who has grown too accustomed to the post without having to put effort toward purpose or even basic responsibility. The two face off in riotous slander, invidious advertising strategies, backbiting, and baby punching. And their warfare gets steadily more caustic as election day looms. But that's it – the setup is the story, and there's nothing more meaningful beyond that.
The tired theme of "do the right thing" rears its head, but it never serves to stress originality or the means for further mockeries of recognizable, past political blunders. The My Fair Lady shtick is catchy, Galifianakis and Ferrell are equally witty in their roles (their ridiculousness is amplified by an anticipated collaboration), while goofy voices (think one part Jiminy Glick and one part Stuart Smalley for Zach, with Will blending his Saturday Night Live presidential impressions), dirty jokes, and slapstick weigh in proportionally for humor. The Campaign also points the finger at the idiotic everyman who misinterprets intent and blindly falls for thinly stretched defamation attempts. But what does it all lead to? A few grand laughs and lovable imbeciles don't amount to a story – it's essentially a promising foundation for comedy that forgets to tell a full-bodied, meaningful tale of political conversion and redemption.
- The Massie Twins
I think there's an excellent political satire hidden in some place of The Campaign. The general premise of an inept lout who is transformed into a charismatic candidate manipulated by the economical elite is very interesting; and even though it's not completely original, I think it's appropriate to occasionally remember it in order to recognize it whenever we find it in the real world (something which undoubtedly happens with a sad frequency). However, the few intelligence from the screenplay is diluted by the coarse and vulgar humor employed as vehicle of the message. I have to admit I laughed in various occasions (specially during the "Our Father" scene), and I definitely found some ingenuity in the creation of absurd but credible situations (at least in the filthy context of contemporary politics)...however, for every scene that works, there's five or six which only provoke whining, specially due to the tendency the actors show to "play the fool". I think this is a very subjective point in any comedy; but in my personal taste, the humor always works better when the actors take their roles seriously and let the comedy to naturally flow from their attitudes and reactions. When they try to force the laughs with a physical or verbal affectation, they lose spontaneity and, specially, destruct the reality of the characters in order to transform them into caricatures.
And besides of that, I found the screenplay of The Campaign too innocent and predictable, taking a safe route until leading to a happy ending. So, I guess that not all the political satires can be as subtle and effective as Wag the Dog or In the Loop; however, I can give a moderate recommendation to The Campaign as an entertaining comedy, despite not being very memorable.
Basically, Democratic playboy Cam Brady has to verse off against republican every-man Marty Huggins after Marty enters the race against the long-term congressmen Cam at the last minute. This of course leads to hilarious incidents that occur in both parties.
The basic plot line is really effective since the film is not biased and allows for making fun of both parties, which I very much appreciate. Unfortunately, the real issues lie in the acting and writing. Ferrell And Galifianakis really don't get the chance to spread there "wings" in this film. Both have the potential to be hilarious but they never get the chance. Jason Sudeiki's seems very unused as Cam Brady's Assistant Mitch. Again, he does not get the chance to shine in this film. I love John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd but there roles in this film are very unnecessary. They are not really funny or entertaining to watch. This is unfortunate. Jay Roach really tried to make a good film, but I think he picked the wrong actors for this film. He shines in romantic comedies like Meet the Parents but he is trying to hard to make a Will Farrell film. It would have been much better with Adam McKay.
It's not all bad though. The scenes that are funny, are hilarious and make will make anyone with a sense of humor laugh. The film's pacing is very good and the chemistry between Farrell And Galifianakis is just perfect. In the end, if you go in the theater with an open mind and a sense of humor, you will enjoy it. Just don't expect another Step Brothers or Hangover.
Long running congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) finally gets some competition from Marty Huggins (Zach Galifanakis),a man who may take over his career.They start a serious campaign against each other.
Screenwriters Chris Henchy & Shawn Harwell only scratched the surface of the real life hilarity of the current political landscape. All they had to do was turn on any TV news channel and take note of the circus that current politics have become from former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to Weiner-Gate to well Sarah Palin, but for Chris Henchy, the writer of past stinkers Land of the Lost and The Other Guys, I guess that is what should be expected.
Will Ferrell (Step Brothers, Anchorman) and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Due Date) make a fine comedic duo, but their one-note characters leave these candidates without much to say. Ferrell ends up doing a less funny version of his George W. Bush impersonation. His iconic character was a slam-dunk on short SNL skits, but runs thin in a feature film.
The Campaign definitely provides its share of laughs that keep this film above average, but doesn't live up to other classic films produced by Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez production company I.E. Step Brothers, Anchorman, Talladega Nights. The Campaign may end up being one of the most profitable comedies of the 2012 blockbuster season, but compared against the other duds Hollywood barfed out this summer (The Watch, That's My Boy, The Dictator) that isn't saying too much.
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Co-Starring Ferrell (the comedian of yester-year) and Zach Galifianakis (who seemed to be the comedian of the now), The Campaign tells the ridiculous story of the congressional race in the 14th district of North Carolina between two very different politicians. Ferrell plays Cam Brady, a Congressman that has run unopposed for several years and plans on winning another easy election. But he is stunned when Marty Huggins (Galifianakis) comes out of nowhere to announce his candidacy for Congress. Huggins, the son of a rich political father, is brought on to defeat Brady by two political leaders known as the Motch Brothers (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) who believe Huggins is the goat they can use to bring cheap Chinese labor to the US.
Quickly, the campaigns turn from an honest race between two men to an all out war between two politicians that will do anything they can to win. And in a film that begins with a Ross Perot quote that says "War has rules, mud wrestling has rules politics has no rules," you can imagine the amount of ridiculous comedy two politicians played by Ferrell and Galifianakis get into.
And while I am sure there is a crowd that will find this film humorous, I rarely did. In an hour and forty minute comedy starring two big names like Ferrell and Galifianakis, I laughed maybe three times, two of which due to how bad the film was. Like I said at the beginning, there is a difference between satire and goofy this is off the wall ridiculous.
Cam Brady may be Ferrell's worst character ever. He is everything we have seen from Ferrell before regurgitated and stuffed into a $3,000 suit. He3 is dumb, crass, and completely unoriginal and uninspired. Sure, there is humor and making a statement about how dumb our politicians are and the extremes campaigns can go to, but having Cam Brady punch a baby in the face, then a dog in the face, and then use a sex tape as a political ad is not clever or funny it is flat out stupid. For anyone to watch it and have any moment of "Yeah, politicians really are dumb," is ridiculous, but seemingly something the writers and filmmakers were aiming at. There seems to be a necessity to make political statements about how dumb politicians are, how corrupt our government is, and the lengths everyone in politics will go to win a race, but it is within a stupid comedy that doesn't ever take itself seriously in its satire.
To read the rest of the review (IMDb form too short) visit: http://custodianfilmcritic.com/the-campaign/
'The Campaign' Synopsis: In order to gain influence over their North Carolina district, two CEOs seize an opportunity to oust long-term congressman Cam Brady by putting up a rival candidate. Their man: naive Marty Huggins, director of the local Tourism Center.
'The Campaign' is undeniably funny, I laughed & enjoyed myself. The film serves its purpose. Chris Henchy & Shawn Harwell's Screenplay is funny & crisp. Jay Raoch's Direction is satisfactory. Cinematography & Editing are alright.
Ferrell & Galifianakis are up for vie top honors. The Comedic Veterans are hilarious in their respective parts & go head to head from start to end. Among the supporting cast, Jason Sudeikis is first-rate. Brian Cox, John Lithgow & Dan Aykroyd are excellent.
On the whole, 'The Campaign' works.
"The Campaign" is a fun and light hearted mockery of modern American politics, but it is also surprisingly real in terms of what could possibly happen in a real election campaign. The plot is funny and really gets me laughing, but I am the most impressed by the emotional ending that conveys a victory to morality. Another thing that really stands out is the Asian maid who speaks with an amazing African and also Spanish accent.
I enjoyed watching this film!
1) Labrador Retrievers (dogs) did NOT originate in the USA. Pugs are from China, but were bred long before China was under Communist rule.
2) The car that Cam Brady drives is made in Canada.
3) Cam Brady parts his hair to the Left... Marty Huggins parts his hair to the Right.
While there were some very good laughs, the rampant smut quickly wicked a lot of laughter from the theater. The pull to 'look away' distracted and overcame the anticipation for the next chuckle. Comedies should make us laugh, and perhaps think about the topics and subjects being mocked. It is even a useful venue for starting discussions on otherwise untouchable issues like politics, religion, sex, and divorce. The presentation of irony, sarcasm and good writing for a memorable classic were all but entirely replaced with empty, humiliating smut. The actors and makers took an easy out for a quick buck instead of delivering what movie-goers expect and deserve. If we pay them, they should deliver. Now I can't get my money or time back and I have encouraged the junk effort to continue. It's like celebrity welfare.
When we buy a ticket or product for an advertisement we view on TV, we should get what we were shown. The Compaign left viewers obviously disappointed and thirsting for the comedies we can recommend to anyone and everyone, as well as to stock the home DVD rack.
I will say, however, that "THE" best part in this film was played by Karen Maruyama ("Mrs. Yao"). She was fantastically hysterical!
Directed by Jay Roach, who is no stranger to those who enjoy the trilogy of Austin Powers films, The Campaign put two current funny men together, and watch them explode as they rib each other to shreds as part of the political hustings to garner more votes by discrediting the other. It's never more than just to share one's plans for the electorate when elected, or to reveal and convince them of one's programs, but to take the more interesting approach to character assassinate, and utilize the power of the media, and one's carefully built persona as perception for the voting public.
Comedy aside, this film lays down very real issues and problems with politics anywhere around the world, and that is more worrying, whether the right people are shunning serving the community, and the wrong people with the wrong motives seeking office instead, so as to further the reserves in their coffers, or that of their supporters with the tacit understanding that the interests of those who had backed one's campaign should be looked on favourably, with any meeting conducted to discuss these terms deemed never having been convened. Corporations are also seen as shady organizations when they contribute to campaign funds, and in truth with money talking these days, can make or hurt politicians chances by playing up or down their capabilities or screw ups. It's been some time seeing Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow on screen, and here they play unscrupulous businessmen who are looking at in- sourcing and exploitation of cheap labour, selling out their state/country once they have their preferred candidate occupy office.
As you would have learnt from the trailer, The Campaign pits Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as two politicians getting at each others throats from the get go. For the former, as Democratic incumbent Cam Brady, unopposed for the most parts of his career given walkovers, his seeking office probably had to do with the satiation of his sexual desires, with a major boo boo involving a dirty message left on someone else's answering machine doing him in. As for Galifianakos' Marty Huggins, he got plucked out of obscurity just because he happens to be the son of a well known, but retired politician, and got thrust into the limelight having sold the idea of doing his father proud, and to lend a hand doing something worthwhile for society.
So it's a fight that's filled with plenty of dirty tricks, mostly centered around character assassination from both camps in tit for tat fashion, providing ammunition for its comedic scenes. The gloves are off in a no holds barred, winner takes all competition that has absolutely no rules, with either side eager to jump on discrediting the opposition camp. And the campaign managers, played by Jason Sudeikis and Dylan McDermott who belong to the Cam Brady and Marty Huggins camps respectively, are hugely responsible for that. The last film seen with campaign managers playing a big part is in George Clooney's Ides of March, with almost the same level of seriousness and intensity seen in The Campaign, especially Dylan McDermott's Tim Wattley who has to build Marty's popularity from scratch, and create a credible candidate out of a dim wit.
For those who appreciate the other Jay Roach comedies, expect the usual toilet humour, and plenty of f-bombs creeping their way into the film. Will Ferrell is also at his element here as the politician who cannot stand losing, blessed with a trophy family, and his pairing with Galifianakis proved to be successful, especially during scenes which they share and have to go one up against the other. Galifianakis continues in his usual roles as none too bright characters having a ball of a time, and here his story arc provided for a little bit of a melodrama, which I thought was a nice touch and a break from the comedy, serving as reminder that family matters, and should take priority rather than being shelved aside for ambition. Or worse, to pretend to lead a lifestyle just because it has the consensus of the majority.
The Campaign runs at a very light 85 minutes, although it did feel a little longer than that, especially in the final few scenes that dwelled into back stories built up to provide a little bit more character motivation and common history. Still, it's entertaining, funny for the most parts, and relevant, and if we don't have much power to change the rot at the polls, the least we can do is to laugh at it. Which is certainly more fun by the way.
To its credit the plot accurately conveyed the joke that is American politics, particularly how it is big business and back handers that are really pulling the strings and making all the big decisions and the typical overplaying of 'family values' and every politicians close personal friend Jesus H Christ, in their campaigns. The sheep voters of course were all too happy to lap it all up and sway their opinion based on the lame speeches and false promises of the candidates.
It was all supposed to be tongue in cheek and satirical but in reality it was just depressing and patronising. I don't need my comedy to be intelligent by any means but the whole thing was just appalling. Honestly I laughed a total of 3 times. Once was at a baby being punched in the face.
It really is just Will Ferrel playing his usual 'I'm an egotistical, air head, a-hole' character, with a slightly different hairstyle. I preferred the guy who played his opponent (Zach Galifianakis), both character wise and performance wise.
One thing that really bugged me about this film was the way that the women were represented. Yes politics is a male dominated environment but apart from a few mute women extras there was only one female who really had more than a few lines and being Asian they were all pretty much jokes about racial stereotyping and she was a maid. The rest of the females were there as sex objects basically. The usual blonde bimbo 'Lewinsky' character, another who was walking around with her nipple accidentally showing, the hot little, supportive wife who actually turns out to be a power hungry, gold digging, cold hearted cow. At one point Will's character seduces the oppositions wife just to smear his character and campaign and of course she is warm hearted and naive so had to be chubby and therefore grateful for his sleaze. Oh and they had one black male speaking part and it was only a couple of lines and he was technically mixed race, in a film set in North Carolina? Yeah okay so a dumb comedy doesn't have a duty or responsibility to represent society accurately but it makes it very clear who this movie is aimed at.
This is jock humour, strictly for Ferrel devotees and I had hoped for more. He really is a one trick pony! Watch the trailer and then move on with your life. Because those are the only good scenes in the whole movie, condensed into a few seconds.
Jay Roach, known for his brilliant work with Austin Powers and Meet the Fockers, returns to direct this film. Cam Brady has been a North Carolina congressman for several terms now and is on the verge of securing another term. But, he ends up running against a Marty Huggins, who happens to be the candidate no one expects to be running for office.
Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis are both very funny here and they seem to feed off each other's energy. This is Ferrell's funniest film since Step Brothers and he just has scene after scene with end up as laugh riots. Galifinakis is really good too despite being somewhat type-casted. But the golden moments are when these two are on screen, going at it with each other.
Overall, this is a really funny film and funnier than I anticipated. I tend to avoid political films, but since this film has no agenda rather than to poke fun at politics, I was all for this. My fear was that the trailer gave many points away, but be prepared for some unexpected jokes. This is a very funny movie. I rate this film 9/10.
It's a shame because I'd heard some good things about The Campaign, and with those two comedy stars it should have been something greater than the sum of its parts. Even something equal would have been good. This just didn't seem like the right movie to bring the two together.
The supporting cast was fine, though nobody really stood out from the pack. It was fun seeing Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow as the corrupt millionaire brothers, even if their plot seems to have been taken wholesale from Trading Places. Jason Sudeikis wisely plays his role with subtlety, in contrast to Ferrell and Galifianakis.
I guess The Campaign isn't the worst way to spend 85 minutes. But by the same token, I'm glad I didn't put down the money to see it in the theatre.
And the less said about the punching of the baby, the better.
Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis combine forces for this political satire attempting to throw some comedic commentary at audiences this election season. Ferrell plays a North Carolina congressman running for his 5th term unopposed when two corrupt businessmen try to unseat him by pitting him against a naive tourism director who always had dreams of a career in politics, played by Galifianakis. The film was directed by Jay Roach (director of all three 'AUSTIN POWERS' films and the first two of the 'MEET THE PARENTS' franchise) and written by Chris Henchy and Shawn Harwell (one of the writers of the TV series 'EASTBOUND & DOWN'). It was produced by Ferrell, Roach, Galifianakis and Adam McKay and co-stars Jason Sudeikis, Dan Aykroyd, John Lithgow, Brian Cox and Dylan McDermott. The film is funny for the most part and does have some on target political commentary. Not as classic as some of Ferrell's greatest comedies but one of his better ones for sure.
Ferrell plays Democratic Congressman Cam Brady, who as the film opens is getting ready to secure his fifth term in North Carolina's 14th District unopposed. A sex scandal hurts his popularity though and two greedy businessmen named Glen (Lithgow) and Wade Motch (Aykroyd) see an opportunity to unseat him and put a naive tourism director, named Marty Huggins (Zak Galifianakis), in his place to do their bidding for them (which involves illegal business with Chinese corporations). What starts out as a friendly campaign duel turns in to a heated battle very quickly with all the name calling and ugly accusations you'd expect from a big time political election. This causes havoc on both the men's private lives including heavy drama with their families.
The movie's jokes are somewhat hit-and-miss but for the most part work. They're vulgar but not overly dumbed down; neither Ferrell nor Galifianakis ever break character or overact (like what often happens in comedy satires like these). The film is of course supposed to be funny and lighthearted but the messages of the story are very serious and clear. The Motch brothers are obviously an intended diss at corrupt businessmen Charles and David Kotch (who Galiafanakis recently annoyed by calling creepy). Hopefully viewers who are fence sitters or leaning to the right might learn some valuable lessons from the film (one can hope). This is where the film's greatest strengths lie but it is pretty funny as well.
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Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) is a four term Democratic representative of the 14th district of North Carolina, based around the city of Hampton. He is running unopposed for the seat but he is in trouble after he accidentally leaves a sexually explicit message on a born-again Christian family's answering machine. His backers, the industrialists the Motch brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd) decides that Cam is a dud and set out to find a someone to run against him. They find the nice, but naïve and weird Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis) to run as a Republican. The campaign quickly descends into false accusations, personal attacks and physical violence. But the Motch brothers have their own dastardly plan for Hampton.
The Campaign is a hit and miss comedy, but it is mostly hit. Ferrell is the best comic performer out of the pair but both comic leads have their moments. The jokes vary from verbal, crude and swearing based, Ferrell's trademarked adlibbing and physical: the biggest laugh in the audience I was in was when the baby got punched in the face. As a political satire this is a film that lacks subtly, but to anyone who is interested in American politics you can easily see the references to negative campaigning, making false accusations that someone is a communist/socialist or an Islamic terrorist just through implication, how candidates just use any rhetoric to get elected without actually having any ideas or policies and how political campaign teams think more about image then they do about doing what they think is best for the district and the country. I personally thought the film missed a trick because I think the filmmakers should not have mentioned the political parties the candidates represented and so you could not tell them apart.
The Campaign runs at a brisk 85 minutes, but near the end the film felt like it running out of steam, both story and jokes wise, near the end. The writing was not smart enough when it could have been more ambitious with its satire.
It is still an enjoyable enough film for people who are fans of Will Ferrell and it is at least worth a rental.
The Campaign follows a long-term congressman who makes a high profile mistake prior to an upcoming election. Looking to get more influence in office, two wealthy business owners see this as their opportunity to get someone in office they can control. Enter the director of a local tourism center who is clearly the most unlikely choice, but with the help of a cut throat campaign manager gives him a run for his money like no other. The trailers for this film looked amusing, but really never delivered anything more than average. Hopefully this will not deter people from checking this movie out because it is way funnier than the trailer lets on. This is easiest one of the funniest movies to come along this year and probably the best of these two guys in quite a while. They pull no punches with this over the top political comedy that not only delivers on the laughs but takes jabs at the current state of politics. It could be reading too much into it, gut if you look closely you can see them taking this time to really poke fun at almost every aspect of government office and their scandals. The only real issue with this movie is the ending as it kind of takes an about face from the rest of the movie. While it doesn't ruing any of the comedy gold that the movie delivers throughout, it just seemed like it took an unlikely direction from where it was heading.
This movie is funny as hell and delivers that one two punch that is missing in most comedies today. It's been too long since we got a good political comedy and this one not only fills that void it takes it above and beyond. If you're a fan of either of them or raunchy funny over the top comedy then get to the poles quick and check this movie out.