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Star - Will Ferrell
Genre - Comedy
County - USA
Certificate - 18R
Run Time - 85 minutes
Blockbusters - £0.99 per night
Amazon - £11.99DVD (£16.99 Blue Ray)
Will Ferrell, like Robin Williams, is one of those movie stars that people simply love or hate. I like him and find him very funny and occasionally secretly clever in his comedy delivery, whereas if you hate him you can quite easily be driven to log onto Imdb.com in a rage and vote don't down a perfectly funny movie purely because he is in it, chipping off a good 10% of the films true value, the 6.1 rating for The Campaign a good example of that negative bias.
The teenage punters scored it well there as Ferrell's often dry deadpan puerile humor does appeal to that phlegmatic demographic, especially if the film is obtuse and in a likewise setting, politics wholly appropriate for the Ferrell treatment. But its that Ferrell treatment that some also accuse Ferrell of being lazy by simply applying that same one trick pony style to whatever topic comes to mind, be it ice skating to NASCAR, basketball to news reading. But if enough people find it funny that rowing cannon funny then why not? How can you not love Blades of Glory !!!
Will Ferrell ... Cam Brady
Zach Galifianakis ... Marty Huggins
Jason Sudeikis ... Mitch
Dylan McDermott ... Tim Wattley
Katherine LaNasa ... Rose Brady
Sarah Baker ... Mitzi Huggins
John Lithgow ... Glenn Motch
Dan Aykroyd ... Wade Motch
Brian Cox ... Raymond Huggins
Karen Maruyama ... Mrs. Yao
Grant Goodman ... Clay Huggins
Kya Haywood ... Dylan Huggins
Randall D. Cunningham ... Cam Jr.
Madison Wolfe ... Jessica Brady
Marty: What's it all about?
Cam Brady: America, Jesus, freedom!.
Democrat Cam Brady (Ferrell) is set to defend the 14th Congressional district of North Carolina for the 5th successive time. But, after yet another sexual indiscretion, this time involving the wrong answering machine and some rather suggestive language to an innocent preacher and his wife, the Republicans see a chance to unseat him. Brady explains to the media it wasn't that bad as he only classes about 1% of his phone calls as sexually perverted. But, alas, its 1% of 100,000 and so Republican grandees Glenn (John Lithgow) and Wade Koch (Dan Aykroyd) decide to put up a challenger and unseat him for devious means to come.
The reluctant challenger is the married by rather camp Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), the Pug owning, musical loving tourism director of a small town called Hammond. But, more importantly, the son of anther Republic grandee, Raymond Huggins (Brian Cox), the plan to get Marty into power so to facilitate illegal in-sourced cheap labor from China into the District of North Carolina so the Motch brothers can undercut everyone in their factories, the Motch boys very much like Randolph and Mortimer Duke from Trading Places in their devious methods to get exactly what they want.
Alas Marty has zero political savvy for the daunting task ahead and so appointed slick spin doctor Mitch (Jason Sudeikis) to lead his campaign, who quickly whips him into shape as the first TV debate approaches. Cam, on the other hand, dismisses Marty and just carries on as normal and soon caught with his pants down yet again. But when Marty becomes a credible candidate by scoring heavily on the TV debate the campaign goes negative and things get really dirty. Cam Brady dirty! If Marty has a mustache then he must be Al-Qaeda, right, the first ever election sex tape sure to follow...
Ok, it's no biting political satire but still funny in places and occasionally presses your buttons in ways that are smart in a seemingly dumb movie, especially the election speeches and sound bites. I don't think the American audience quite grasp that this comedy is a sly send up of their political system - as well as Ferrell reaching for regular laughs. I grinned and chuckled all the way through with some knowing nods to boot. The joke is completely on the American electorate as they do tend to blindly applaud their politicians vacuous platitudes around God, war, freedom and the flag. If you don't bother to really study the candidate's policies then those four things placate your responsibility to care and win candidates high office and eventually The Whitehouse. The voters do as their religion; army and constitution demands in America and so sod the rest of the world with their actions. 91% believed there was WMD in Iraq in 2002, a terrifyingly high percentage of cluelessness, so that electorate rightfully ridiculed here.
Zach Galifianakis (the fat bearded guy from The Hangover) is the sidekick for this one, and surprisingly funny, ideal for the job in hand as his uncle had been a congressman for North Carolina in the 1970s for real, losing the senate race at the last to pro smoking Jessie Helms. For Ferrell this is a continuation of his rancid hate for the last president of the United States. He hammered 'Dubya's' idiocy in his TV/Stage show: 'You're Welcome America - A Final Night with George W Bush (TV 2009) and his Cam Brady character sounding and acting suspiciously dumb and recklessly like Mr Bush from Texas here.
If you don't like Ferrell then what ever I say you won't see this but if you are a fan its good stuff. I would say around 6.7 on the Imdb is a more realistic mark and there are some big belly laughs here, which I won't spoil as you won't have seen them before in a movie they are that shockingly funny. As there are so few funny standard American style comedies out there it's just a relief for people like me when Ferrell brings out his next movie. He just makes me laugh however silly he is and what's wrong with that. My names the devilinme and I endorse this movie!
Imdb.com - 6.2/10.0 (44,678 votes)
Metacritc.com - 50% critic's approval rating
Rottentomatos.com -65% critic's approval rating
Film4 - 'Funny and entertaining, it's not a heavyweight contender, but who wants a heavyweight contender every time?'
The Times -'Perhaps one in ten of the jokes hit the mark; the rest are damp, childish squibs
The Guardian - 'If you're solemnly looking for contemporary political observation, this isn't the film for you. But laughs come rolling off the production line a-plenty.
The Daily Telegraph - 'More of the non sequitur jokes and shouting on which [Ferrell] has built a lucrative and long-lasting career'.
Empire Magazine - 'The Campaign gets by on its stars' comic compatibility and a relentless stream of jokes, many of which are laugh-out-loud funny'.
The New Yorker -'Hits an occasional vein of funny, but for the most part it's inescapably half-assed, largely relying for laughs on Ferrell's familiar schtick of delivering filth in deadpan tones'.
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About the film
The Campaign is a comedy film which was released at the cinema on 28th September. It has a run time of 85 minutes and is rated 15 due to sexual content, language and brief nudity.
Cam Brady has been congressman of a North Carolina district for the past few years running. When he makes a big mistake with a phone call, two hot shot CEOs decide that his time is up. No one ever runs against Brady but this year, he has some competition. Marty Huggins is the director of the local tourism center in his little hometown and is a bit of a let-down to his father. He doesn't have any idea about politics and is more a family man but with the backing of the Motch brothers and a mean campaign manager, it seems as though Marty actually has a chance of winning.
Will Ferrell as Camden "Cam" Brady
Zach Galifianakis as Martin "Marty" Huggins
Dylan McDermott as Tim Wattley
Jason Sudeikis as Mitch Wilson
Brian Cox as Raymond Huggins
John Lithgow as Glen Motch
Dan Aykroyd as Wade Motch
Katherine LaNasa as Rose Brady
Sarah Baker as Mitzi Huggins
Grant Goodman as Clay Huggins
Kya Haywood as Dylan Huggins
Karen Maruyama as Mrs. Yao
What I thought
As soon as I saw the trailer for this film, I thought it look hilarious. For some reason though, I picked to see other films over this at the cinema and it took me until its last week to get around to seeing it.
The laughs begin really early on in this film which was quite surprising to see. Normally with a film like this the story is set first and then gradually builds into the comedy. By showing the kinds of things Cam Brady does as congressman, the film begins by being really funny. It also manages to show why Cam is no longer (probably) the best person to be congressman for this district as he has an affair with a supporter and then leaves an especially crude message on someone else's answering machine. By doing this, it also paves the way for the other main character Marty Huggins. It made me think that whoever was going to oppose Cam had to be better than him... because it wouldn't have been hard.
Will Ferrell plays Cam Brady and I think this is one of his best roles to date. While Ferrell can sometimes be over the top and needlessly silly, it works in this film and his character wouldn't have been the same otherwise. Still though, Ferrell manages to put in some emotion to his performance which you don't get to see very much from him. As a character, Cam Brady is rude, selfish and pretty mean when he doesn't get what he wants. I loved watching the stupid things Cam did throughout the film and how desperate he got when he realised there was a chance he could lose.
Zach Galifianakis plays Marty Huggins, Cam's opponent. As soon as he makes an appearance in the film, it is clear to see that he is quite special. He runs a tourism center, has two pet pugs with ridiculous names and has a super strange family. He's a sensitive Southerner who just wants his home town to be the best it can be so when he is approached to run against Cam, he jumps at the chance to better himself, his life and his town. However, Marty doesn't really understand the world of politics and has a hard time running against Cam to begin with as he plays dirty. When manager Tim comes onto the scene though and completely reinvents Marty, he becomes a different person - actually believing that he could win. Galifianakis is wonderful as Marty and slightly better than Ferrell in my opinion. He manages to be funny and sweet without really giving up any of his beliefs. Although his manager does overrule him sometimes and makes him do things he doesn't really want to, Marty still tries to be himself.
With some comedy films, the trailer tends to give away all of the funniest moments. That is not the case with The Campaign. Although the bits shown were pretty funny, there are better moments that you won't be expecting. My flatmate and I were sat laughing so hard the whole way though this film and I couldn't believe how funny it was. Sometimes with comedy films like this they try too hard and end up not being funny at all but this one was great from start to finish. There are plenty of moments where either Cam or Marty are trying to get one up on the other which doesn't work out how the planned and there is where it made me laugh so much.
As the American elections are happening about now, The Campaign takes away some of the seriousness surrounding this issue. The politics in the film are probably (most definitely) not even anywhere close to how things are done but who cares, it's funny. I don't care that it isn't realistic. Films are supposed to be an escape from reality and that's exactly what this film is. The secondary characters like campaign managers, other congressmen and the supporters really help to make this film what it is though as they provide many interesting moments and they help to set up most of the gags.
I really loved The Campaign and will definitely be buying it when it gets released on DVD.