Movie Review: THE CAMPAIGN (2012)
Another comedy. Ugh. I dread these. However, in order to have a diverse selection during Movember’s Moustache Movie Madness, I had to do some current flicks too. This is the only reason I put myself through the horrible-ness that was THE CAMPAIGN.
Rating: 3 Out Of 5
This is another typically bad comedy flick with outrageous-ness, somewhat supported by a loose thread of a storyline. Basically Zack Galifianakis’ Marty is a weird and suspiciously retarded man who gets supported to run for Congress or Governor or something… by 2 rich corporate typhoons who want to sell the state to China for cheaper labor in manufacturing… whatever it is they manufacture. He goes up against the incumbent and veteran Politician, Will Ferrell’s Cam.
THE CAMPAIGN feels like it’s an election movie crammed into 2012 due to the Presidential race, however the jokes and concept is all from pre 2008 it seems. Will Ferrell known for his awesome job on Saturday Night Live as George W. Bush, seems to channel him at times with the drawl in his speech and dumbass comments. But it’s 8 years too late Will!
Zach Galifianakis is the new dumbed down comedy favorite after roles in THE HANGOVER and DUE DATE. He doesn’t do anything else here but the same rehash of those characters. It’s the same ‘look… he’s weird, therefore funny’ routine.
Ferrell is his own self who, at times is funny and reminiscent of the good ol’ OLD SCHOOL days… but it’s watered down. I long for the genius of Will Ferrell from days of ANCHORMAN and ELF. I liked when he decided to go the serious actor route in films like BEWITCHED & STRANGER THAN FICTION, but his return to his own perfected brand of comedy with THE CAMPAIGN was not cool. Not cool at all. Zach (I can’t spell his last name so many times) fulfills his purpose of being a weird ass moron, who unfortunately, is not likeable at all, despite being the protagonist.
THE CAMPAIGN fails on many levels. The otherwise slow witted and just plain kooky Marty becomes charming, articulate and likeable when the cameras are on and woos the crap out of Cam, who we’re supposed to believe is even stupider than Marty despite his years of experience. It just doesn’t make any sense. Not that these films are supposed to make sense, but the premise of it all focuses on being SO outrageous that it just doesn’t resonate with me. I prefer the type of humor where ridiculous circumstances happen to normal characters… not a world where literally everybody lacks any semblance of common sense, and therefore their actions based on that mental retardation is meant to be ‘funny’. It’s cheap and forced humor for the sake of humor.
Any saving grace of this movie comes from the supporting characters and special appearances. John Lithgow and Dan Akroyd play the rich CEO’s trying to manipulate the election in their favor. For the limited screen time they get, they’re top notch. Jason Sudeikis is a funny guy. It seemed like he was supposed to be the ‘normal guy’ in this movie, but he did almost nothing. His role in no way supported or hindered the other performances or even the plot. He might as well not have been there. A waste of a great comedic talent.
The show stealer though has to be Dylan McDermott who shows up as a bad ass, potty-mouthed campaign manager trying to ship Marty into shape. It seems like comedies like THE CAMPAIGN are good for these guest appearances by actors who otherwise wouldn’t do these kinds of roles. Tom Cruise in TROPIC THUNDER comes to mind. McDermott is amazing in this as he’s totally not the type of stuff he’s done before. He’s powerful, vulgar and damn right rude… and it’s awesome.
THE CAMPAIGN is a lackluster and halfhearted attempt at cashing in on Zach Galifianikis’ brand of comedy coupled with Will Ferrell, with a premise that insults the audience’s intelligence.