The Campaign follows Congressman (and all-round douchebag) Cam Brady, played by Will Ferrell, who is looking to become re-elected unopposed for the fifth time. However, the simpleton, but loveable, community man Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis) steps in to the Election ring, with the support of scheming business tycoons The Motch brothers (Dan Ackroyd and John Lithgow), and in the simplest terms, all hell breaks loose. Amongst petty squabbles and dirty tactics, both Brady and Huggins fight to win.
Directed by Jay Roach, the man responsible for the Austin Powers trilogy and Meet the Parents films, the humour tends to fall within the same comedic style of innuendoes and almost slapstick occurrences. You would have thought that Roach would have learnt his lesson from the mixed success of Dinner for Schmucks, along with the critical praise for his HBO political movie Game Change, but these are the kind of jokes that we have seen before. His direction play towards the US political system to try and drum up some smarts, but it just about fails to veil the blatant playground antics of the two candidates.
Ferrell plays the accustomed, yet pompous, idiot to a tee – not knowing the limits of dignity and success – and Galinakis, once again, plays the unassuming guy with a love for dogs. It all seems like cinematic déjà vu – once you have seen these guys doing what they do best, it becomes harder to be surprised… or even impressed.
However, there is a comedic charm behind the script, thanks to the production efforts of Roach, Ferrell, Galifianakis and Anchorman director Adam McKay. There are enough gems in this political satire to raise more than a hearty chuckle, thanks to the supporting roles of Dylan McDermott as Marty’s slick campaign manager Tim Wattley, as well as comedienne Karen Maruyama as the Huggin’s housekeeper Mrs Yao. It is just unfortunate that Ackroyd and Lithgow didn’t have more time to milk their comedy genius into their limited screentime.
Even though Ferrell and Galifianakis are great together, Roach fails to bring anything new to the table. Overall, The Campaign is just mindless fun, prettied up by politics.
The Campaign kicks of in cinemas 28th September 2012.
Director: Jay Roach
Cast: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott
Runtime: 85 min