Do you like to watch funny movies? Movies with men in their mid-forties running around in tighty-whities? Movies where newsmen fight each other to the death with a trident and spears?
If you do, then I’m pretty darn sure that you will like The Campaign. Though The Campaign doesn’t have any of the actions I listed above, it does have one thing in common…Will Ferrell.
This time around Will teams up with Zach Galifianakis for a take on this country’s election system. I must say, there is a lot of truth to campaigning in this movie. Though some of the stunts are largely exaggerated (punching a baby in reality probably isn’t going to happen), the tactics, the mud-slinging and the down right dirty strategies employed by both campaigns can be seen every night on my television screen thanks to the campaigns and PACs that support our own political candidates.
Ferrell plays “Cam Brady,” a four-term Representative of District 14 in North Carolina. Cam has run undefeated and thus has become lazy. He doesn’t know the issues of the people he’s representing. And worst of all, he uses the same catch phrase for every group of people (“Filipino tilt-a-whirl operators are the back bone of America!). He’s become the stereo-typical politician. But Cam has another side, a softer side. He’s not thrilled with his own conduct of the past and realizes that maybe he hasn’t set the best example for his kids. But alas, the campaign is far too important and must come first. It’s in these moments, that Ferrell brings heart to Cam. You laugh at his ridiculousness, but at the same time you find yourself wanting him to change.
Galifianakis, on the other hand plays “Marty Huggins,” the local tourism director for the town. Marty is a simple man. A family man who loves his wife, his two boys, and his two pugs – poundcake and muffins. He loves his life.
Well, until two dastardly super rich guys decide they need a congressman in their pocket to further their evil plan. The Motch brothers (played by Dan Akroyd and John Lithgow) decide that Cam Brady’s time in congress is done and it’s time for a new face. A face they own. Someone like Marty Huggins. With the help of campaign manager, Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermont), Marty goes from oddball “tickle shits” – as he was fondly called in high school – into a polished candidate willing to do whatever it takes to win the election. In the process, his world unravels. Campaign life isn’t the nice cozy world that Marty knows so well. It’s mean. It’s dirty. It’s ugly.
Naturally, shenanigans ensue as both candidates battle it out to win the precious votes of District 14’s constituents. You have to wonder who these voters are. They are easily swayed in one direction or another. Polls fluctuate with pornographic commercials and Cheney type “accidental” shootings – and not in the direction that you would think. In fact, a town-hall-style debate goes array when the thought of turning America into a fantastical place called “Rainbowland” almost results in a riot. Again, I ask, who are these voters?
Ferrell and Galifianakis bring their characters to life as only they know how. But, McDermont also stands out, almost stealing the show. The level of creepiness that he brings is just plain hilarious and at the same time uncomfortable. He seems to pop-up out of no where catching both the characters on the screen as well as the audience off guard. After seeing what Mr. McDermont can do with a comedic role, I would really like to see him do more.
Is this movie for everyone? Definitely not. It is not a movie I would recommend to my grandmother. Sure it’s offensive and obscene, but I loved every second of it. Many people will agree with me and many won’t. Those that don’t will see a stupid comedy with fart jokes and inappropriate uses of a freezer. The that’s okay. Oh, I guess I should have probably mentioned this before, but I love Will Ferrell. You know that questions that people sometimes ask, if you could meet anyone who would it be? I would choose Will Ferrell. I wouldn’t even have to think about it. I am a huge fan.
With that said, I think The Campaign was a great movie. Was it my favorite Will Ferrell movie? No. That’s still a tie between Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. But The Campaign is definitely up there with those two. Or maybe somewhere in between…