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Old 08-10-2012, 10:06 PM
The Campaign

Going into a Will Ferrell movie you pretty much know what youíre going to get and The Campaign is no exception. Once again working alongside long-time collaborator Adam McKay (director of Ferrell back-catalogue titles Anchorman and Step Brothers and serving as producer here), the world of politics is tackled with an expected lack of sophistication and the typical low-brow humour Ferrell has made his name with. Politics is always good fodder for satire and even though all the ingredients are here, weíre left with what is essentially Ron Burgundy running for congress, except this time around he's assumed the form of Cam Brady.

Brady is a cocky congressman with a smarmy personality and a promiscuous streak that canít be tamed, and yet again unopposed for the 5th year running, heís on the cusp of being re-elected for his respective North Carolina district. After misdialling his mistress and leaving a sexually explicit message on the answering machine of a devout Christian family (headed by 30 Rock star Jack McBrayer), Brady sees his popularity wane and power broker brothers Glen and Wade Motch (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd) see an opportunity to pounce and rope in local tour guide Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis) to run as his opposition, hoping it will help them in their shameful bid to out-sell to the Chinese.

Marty is effeminate and socially awkward, ultimately the perfect candidate for the Motch brothers to mould and manipulate into the best congressman North Carolina didnít know they were missing. With campaign manager Tim (a scene-stealing Dylan McDermott) acting as his shadow, Marty and his family get a political makeover to appeal to the masses. Their pet pugs, deemed too Chinese, are exchanged for a more accessible golden retriever and chocolate labrador, the multi-patterned cardigans tossed aside for suits and turtle necks, and what all-American family living room would be complete without a dead animal hanging from the wall? Itís here that we get one of the films funniest moments where Marty asks his wife Mitzi (Sarah Baker) and his sons to reveal any deep, dark secrets they may be harbouring, learning some shocking truths about those under his roof.

Once Marty is polished enough, heís let loose in a public forum and Cam soon learns heís got a true opponent on his hands, prompting he and his right hand man Mitch (Jason Sudekis) to start playing dirty leading to some rather amusing takes on the typical bag-the-opposition TV adverts which range from accusations of Marty being in cahoots with Al Qaeda to Camís parental skills. It culminates in an R-rated spot that Brady hopes to be the first sex tape-come-TV commercial.

Thereís a lot to like about ĎThe Campaigní at the end of the day, the cast alone (which also includes Australian actor Josh Lawson as Galifianakisí douchebag brother) is enough of a coup, but it ultimately just feels all too familiar and with a running time of 80 minutes, itís very evident they didnít have much to work with and hoped the crazy antics of Ferrell and Galifianakis would be enough to sustain the audience. And even with all the gross gag and boundary pushing situational humour ĎThe Campaigní offers (the kiss the baby move which escalates to punching an infant being a prime example), it still decides to make nice in its finale with the typical message of nice guys finishing first when it comes down to it. Iíve got nothing against that move, but when our two protagonists have been so nasty to each other for the duration of the movie, you wish the filmmakers had the stones to keep them unlikeable to the end. Thatís the true political way.
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