After a steady influx of campaign year related humor from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, I expected a good dose of political satire in the new election year spoof The Campaign. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis deliver on their election promise of delightfully crude humor, but like most politicians, I would have liked to see more from them.
The story follows South Carolina Congressman Cam Brady (Ferrell) a good politician, but not a great human being. After running unopposed for several terms, a rich and evil set of CEO brothers decide they need a puppet in the office to do thier bidding. Their names ironically, are the Motch Brothers, most likely a play off the Koch Brothers from Wisconsin’s recent history.
In any case they want to run local weirdo Marty Huggins (Galifianakis) up against Brady, and the political gloves come off.
The back and forth trash talking lives mostly in the blue comedy realm, but it’s the fun part of this movie. For example, while both grown men are rushing to kiss a baby, one of the candidates punches the baby in the face. Later, a infamous animal gets the same treatment. Hate to say I laughed at it, but it was the film’s highlight.
A stick out character was Dylan McDermott who plays Marty’s campaign manager. His timing is outstanding, especially when he shows up unexpectedly in a scene with food in his mouth.
The mud slinging and back-stabbing eventually reaches a critical mass, but instead of pursuing the comedy to the end, The Campaign enters into a moral place. It’s not preachy, but there is a clear message about the dangers of money in politics. I didn’t mind the running theme of campaign finance reform, but it came on too heavy in the end.
If anything, me and my buddies now have a couple good one liners to launch back and forth.