Routine and predictable Will Ferrell comedy without any true political wit. The Campaign is stuck in the dirty-minded 14-year old boy mentality, and doesn’t bother to even match the satiric skewering of Saturday Night Live skits. You’ve seen the scenario before where Ferrell bags women, slings un-pc innuendos at women, and declared his self-narcissism to a bottom-feeding public. Now Ferrell is playing a four-term North Carolina politician named Cam Brady – a switch of wardrobe for the actor, nothing more. Zach Galifianakis is the wet blanket opposing politician Marty Huggins who gets some help from a very mysterious Dylan McDermott as a dangerous PR man who literally moves in with the Huggins family.
The public brouhahas, the slogans, the podium debates – this is the same damn tune you’ve heard Ferrell do before, just under another context. Behind the camera is “Austin Powers” and “Meet the Parents” alum Jay Roach, whose biggest technical feat is re-producing those TV bytes that candidates use to funnel their credibility. Otherwise, his efforts here are by-the-margins competent.
You wait and wait for inspiration, but its best to just surrender and lower your standards to that 14-year old dirty-boy adolescent. Nature runs coarse with Ferrell/McKay humor – the two think up some very below the belt gags (and a punch to a baby’s face). To contrast the nastiness, Galifianakis is a very morally correct square who needs to be taught the political game (Brian Cox grouchily plays his former politician dad). Corporate malfeasance, a slightly less soft subplot, is with Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow as megalomaniacs manipulating the upcoming election. And regretfully, Jason Sudeikis is given no good lines to worth with as the Brady campaign manager.
Not much to see here. But I’ll cast my ballot to see Karen Maruyama again as the Southern-Asian housemaid Mrs. Yao, who speaks entirely in Old South dialect. She was a hoot.
85 Minutes. Rated R.
COMEDY / MINDLESS FUN / WEEKEND VIEWING
Film Cousins: “My Fellow Americans” (1996); “Old School” (2003); “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” (2004); “Semi-Pro” (2008).