Capone sees THE CAMPAIGN drunkenly weaving between sharp political satire and typical raunchy comedy!!!
Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
Director Jay Roach is an anomaly to me. The man has helmed two extreme smart and entertaining HBO films about politics (RECOUNT, GAME CHANGE), and he's also done all three AUSTIN POWERS movies, the first two MEET THE PARENTS films and DINNER WITH SCHMUCKS, to name most of his filmography. Some of his works I consider essential watching; others are disposable junk. But with his latest work, THE CAMPAIGN, Roach has taken his informed knowledge of politics and injected it into a raunchy comedy about two very different candidates running for a North Carolina Congressional seat. Will Ferrell plays Cam Brady, the seasoned incumbent who has run unopposed since he took office, while Zach Galifianakis plays Marty Huggins, an established loser and son of a powerful businessman (Brian Cox) with friends who want a puppet congressman in their back pocket.
While Marty would never knowingly become a stooge, there's a lot Marty doesn't know, including how to speak in public and dress for success (ugly sweaters are his forté), and after a few embarrassing moments (most of which come courtesy of Cam, who doesn't appreciate having to work for his seats this time around), Marty has to buckle down and play the nasty game of politics with the help of hired-gun campaign advisor Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermott), hired by the money men behind Marty's run, Glenn and Wade Motch (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd, clearly playing a barely veiled version of David and Charles Koch, who have been taking shots from HBO's "Newsroom" lately, too).
Ferrell has done a version of this before, playing George W. Bush on stage, and I have always loved Galifianakis' affected Southern persona (basically his "twin brother Seth" character). It didn't take much to tweak those characters into two fleshed-out roles that begin by providing a look at the the poles that political candidates can exist at. Naturally, they drift closer in style and substance to each other by the end.
While its two lead characters may be deliberately playing dumb about certain subjects in THE CAMPAIGN, the film actually has a thread of intelligence running through it, primarily in the form of the wives of the two candidates, played by Katherine LaNasa (Mrs. Brady) and Sarah Baker (Mrs. Huggins). They are perfect prototypical political wives—one a re-sculpted version of Cindy McCain and the other a more down-home wife and mother who shuns glamour but still knows what her husband must do to stay competitive. I also liked the relationship between Cam and his right-hand man Mitch (Jason Sudeikis), who have a long history of covering up the congressman's indiscretions.
But the film also largely works as a finely crafted piece of vulgarity, beginning early with Cam banging an admirer in a Port-O-Potty ("It smells bad in here," she says. "You get used to it," he answers. Gross on every level.) There are times when the rude jokes fall flat and the political observations are too broad and obvious to be clever.
But for the most part, THE CAMPAIGN is full of big laughs and insight into a process that seems to have mostly to do with money and little to do with integrity. Sure, a lot of the inside-baseball stuff will be a met with "No shit" by many, but that doesn't stop the film from being funny more often than not. At the very least, there's a baby-punching scene that is had me nearly on the floor laughing so hard. If you tend to have a feel for Ferrell's better work, you'll feel right at home with this one.
-- Steve Prokopy
Follow Me On Twitter
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
+ Expand All
Aug. 11, 2012, 2:25 a.m. CST
Aug. 11, 2012, 2:26 a.m. CST
Aug. 11, 2012, 2:30 a.m. CST
by Ian Masterson
But the trailers sell this pretty well. Maybe for a matinee.
Aug. 11, 2012, 2:32 a.m. CST
Did not care for that film. Liked all the actors, but the film seemed mean spirited or something. Wasn't really funny.
Aug. 11, 2012, 2:32 a.m. CST
Aug. 11, 2012, 2:36 a.m. CST
by BD Mahony
... for the first time on AICN. Son of a bitch!
Aug. 11, 2012, 2:45 a.m. CST
Aug. 11, 2012, 2:49 a.m. CST
You are welcome.
Aug. 11, 2012, 3:51 a.m. CST
by gerry derboven
A truly great fx guy has passed away. E.T., Alien, Dune... I especially had trouble procesessing the embryonical , floating nightmares that were the Spice Navigators in Dune. Another pioneer of practical effects has gone. Sad news. My thoughts are with his family. RIP, amice.
Aug. 11, 2012, 3:52 a.m. CST
by gerry derboven
Aug. 11, 2012, 3:57 a.m. CST
my ass is in the theater (and the rest of me.) Bourne, not so much....
Aug. 11, 2012, 4:50 a.m. CST
Aug. 11, 2012, 4:52 a.m. CST
In the book, they were more human. Kind of like Bats. If memory serves.
Aug. 11, 2012, 4:57 a.m. CST
Whatta ya gonna do?
Aug. 11, 2012, 4:59 a.m. CST
I meant SPICE navigator.
Aug. 11, 2012, 8:08 a.m. CST
I thought Ferrell's character was separated enough from his Dubya character that it felt new. Much more horndog, less dim witted than Bush. And the accent is totally NC. Seth Galifianakis = nail on head. It's one of my favorite characters that Zach does and the reason I bought a ticket. Funny stuff.
Aug. 11, 2012, 8:30 a.m. CST
They looked exactly like you on a diet of spice mélange for thousands of years. Or Cheetos in your case.
Aug. 11, 2012, 9:13 a.m. CST
by Nasty In The Pasty
Aug. 11, 2012, 10:25 a.m. CST
I live in NC. This is a Ken Burns documentary. maybe if i lived somewhere else, I could laugh
Aug. 11, 2012, 10:52 a.m. CST
by Darth Busey
Which means I'll catch when its on FX, of course.
Aug. 11, 2012, 8:03 p.m. CST
Smash your skull in with a lead pipe darth busey. Then no one will have to look at your ugly face or listen to your stupid comments. You're trash.
Aug. 12, 2012, 4:32 p.m. CST
Aug. 12, 2012, 6:52 p.m. CST
Love the lead actors but thought that there was way too much dependence on shock value and gross out humor to keep it from sinking. That stuff works best in small doses. A better script with a bit more wit and subtlety would have gone a long way. Wasn't bad but it was a bit disappointing.
Aug. 13, 2012, 8:49 a.m. CST
He's playing the opposite of his role in Trading Places, one of the greedy brothers.
- Nordling Reviews THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL! -- 44 total posts 42 posts
- Idris Elba to voice a great, big, bloody Bengal tiger by the name of Shere Khan in Jon Favreau's JUNGLE BOOK! -- 61 total posts 35 posts
- "Just another Saturday night" Marv and company are back in the first trailer for SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR!! -- 175 total posts 33 posts
- Sam Raimi to produce an adaptation of THE LAST OF US!!! -- 133 total posts 29 posts
- Yowzwa!! Here’s 4 Minutes Of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER!! -- 197 total posts 20 posts
- Will the sun come out tomorrow!?! The first trailer for the remake of ANNIE is here! -- 550 total posts 19 posts
- From The Director Of GRAVITY!! The First Two Minutes Of NBC And Bad Robot’s BELIEVE!! -- 16 total posts 16 posts
- Jude Law spies a role alongside Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham in SUSAN COOPER! -- 27 total posts 15 posts
- Are You Primed For Optimus’ TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION Character Poster?? -- 160 total posts 15 posts
- 10 Movies Not To Miss At SXSW 2014! -- 23 total posts 15 posts