From the outset I’d like to make it abundantly clear that The Campaign is pretty much exactly what you’d expect – yet another in a long line of OK Will Ferrell comedies co-piloted by seemingly whichever other funnyman was in vogue at the time of shooting (think Blades of Glory with the Napoleon Dynamite guy, or the admittedly above average Step Brothers). Unfortunately though, The Campaign suffers from much the same problem that these films did – it just doesn’t make you laugh as hard or as often as it ought to.
The current iteration of the now familiar formula sees Ferrell playing Cam Brady, a grossly incompetent congressman with no qualms at all about selling his influence in Washington to whichever corporate interests are willing to pay for it. He never has to worry about re-election, simply because he’s always been the only person keen on the job amongst the folks of the backwater district of North Carolina that he represents. That is until the appearance of Zach Galifianakis’s character Marty Huggins, a pug-loving local eccentric whom a couple of corporate douchebags decide (for what seems to the viewer like no apparent reason) to back as their pawn in order to help engineer their dubious plans for the district’s industrial future.
What makes up the rest of the film is basically just a series of ever nastier exchanges between the two would-be congressmen. Galifianakis (of The Hangover’s wolf pack fame) shines in his role as a sweet and unassuming family man, providing one of the few really worthwhile reasons to see this film. And yes, the sheer thoroughness with which the film demolishes and ridicules its comedic target (American-style democracy) is as satisfying as any of the countless George Bush jokes we’ve all heard over the years, but really, in the end, it all just feels a little played out. By now we’re so used to politicians serving up enough unintentional comedy of their own through the medium of their overactive twitter accounts that the idea of writing a whole movie poking fun at them just seems a little unnecessary. And it is with that in mind that I encourage readers to either hold onto their hard-earned dollars, or, failing that, just go see the new Batman instead.
Two and a half stars out of five.