Pleased to see these two big dogs of American comedy sharing the screen, we had high hopes and were poised for laughter.
When incumbent congressman Cam Brady (Ferrell) makes the embarrassing political faux pas of leaving an ‘indecent’ message on an constituents answer phone, he is suddenly thrown in to a battle of the polls with his naive challenger, Marty Huggins (Galifianakis), for his usually uncontested seat.
The corrupt businessmen Glen and Wade Motch, played by John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd, throw more comedy royalty into the mix. The greedy CEO’s want to transform the town for their own financial gain but they need a sappy congressman to help.
The Motch brothers intend on using the hapless Marty Huggins, the fabulously camp and awkward tour guide, as their pawn.
Will Ferrell is using his experience of impersonating George W. to full effect here and is, as always great fun to watch. I often get the feeling that many lines are a result of his ad lib and pure silliness but that’s what we signed up for. Obviously if you are not a fan of Ferrell’s then you’re not going to be converted here but if you are then it’s more of what you love.
Zac Galifianakis is a worthy contender as the comedy leading man but as usual he plays the geekier or more odd ball character. He seemingly revels in the quirky body language and OTT campness of Marty, with his physicalities stealing many scenes. Galifianakis, like Marty, is fighting the comedy incumbent of Ferrell here. However he is a fantastic performer and his well-crafted ‘Marty’ is a loveable funny character with strokes of genius during the film.
The supporting cast get their times to shine too and we especially enjoyed the sinister campaign manager Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermott) who grooms Marty into a lean mean political machine. Dogs and all!
Marty’s family gets to feature in one of the best scenes in the film, the ‘confession’ scene. Sarah Baker plays a brilliant frustrated but doting Mitzi Huggins .
This is far from a deep political satire but it is referencing a political system that exists through the power of big business and corporations. It’s probably scarily closer to the truth than we would like! Anyone who is a fan of American politics will find it hard not to smile and some of the ideas and endorsement messages shown here.
The Campaign is a film full of belly laughs, fun word play and great comedy characterisations but lacks the cult feeling of the stars previous hits Anchorman and The Hangover.
R16 - 90 mins
Starring: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis
Directed by Jay Roach