At the Movies - The Campaign - review

Will Ferrell (left) and Zach Galifianakis in 'The Campaign'.
Will Ferrell (left) and Zach Galifianakis in 'The Campaign'.

If the fast approaching US Presidential election is as boring as ‘The Campaign’ I’ll eat my hat.

‘The Campaign’ is about how two money and power hungry CEOs (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd) pit tourism centre manager, Marty Huggins (Galifianakis - ‘The Hangover’ and ‘Due Date’) in an election race against long-serving congressman Cam Brady (Ferrell - ‘Anchorman’ and ‘Everything Must Go’).

After making a seriously funny gaffe, Cam Brady, faces the race of his political life when the unwitting and naive Marty Huggins is convinced by unscrupulous individuals to take on Brady in an up and coming election.

Brady, a long time serving congressman, is more than familiar with the political machine but Huggins is not - this makes for some funny moments but they are just not memorable.

Jay Roach (‘Meet the Parents’ and ‘Dinner for Schmuks’) directs and if you’re expecting the social or political commentary from some of Roach’s other movies, then think again.

The jokes in ‘The Campaign’ are laugh out loud funny and to a certain extent free flowing but if it’s political satire you’re after this one’s not for you; but if you want to see Will Ferrell punching a baby in the face then get your tickets now.

It’s fair to suggest that US politics sometimes feels beyond parody but when you see one of the election ads used by Ferrell’s character Cam Brady you’ll not believe it.

Be that as it may, the real life goings on inside the world of US politics are much more entertaining, implausible and ridiculous - this is where the campaign falls short, it just doesn’t keep up.

Ferrell utilises his already excellent impression of US President George W. Bush and combines it with every other piece of hyperbole from the world of US politics.

The jokes might be funny but ‘The Campaign’ is lacklustre and extremely predictable. The movie’s finale will have even the most optimistic of cinema goer reaching for a empty popcorn container to throw up into.

That said, ‘The Campaign’ is held together by decent performances from Ferrell and Galifianakis. The chemistry between the two actors really does work and it would not be surprising if they were to feature together in future movies.

Galifianakis is good as the idiotic Huggins and since starring in ‘The Hangover’ in 2009 he is fast making a name for himself as a top comedy actor.

Galifianakis’ performance in ‘Due Date’ alongside Robert Downey Jnr. was certainly one of his strongest but latest sojourn in ‘The Campaign’ is of a similar pedigree.

Ferrell, whilst satisfactory as Brady, has struggled to reach the heights achieved when he starred in the 2004 movie ‘Anchorman - The Legend of Ron Burgandy’ but that’s not to say that he hasn’t progressed as an actor. Ferrell is adept when starring in movies with both comic and dramatic elements to them e.g. ‘Everything Must Go’ and ‘Stranger than Fiction’.

‘The Campaign’ will make many laugh but it’s nowhere near as memorable as some of some of the previous films starring Ferrell and Galifianakis. Give it a go if slapstick comedy is your thing but if you like your comedy with a little more intelligence and substance then perhaps you just abstain and vote with your feet.

VERDICT - 2/5 - There are several laugh out loud moments and, together, Galifianakis and Ferrell are funny but the movie’s material doesn’t keep up with the real life farce that is American politics. If it’s a switch off and not engage the brain kind of movie you’re after then this one’s for you but if it’s not then give it a miss.