I admit from the moment I first saw the trailer for The Campaign, I got excited! The trailer showed just enough to give us an idea of what we were in for and the talents involved, I was sold! Funny thing is, like with most comedies, this trailer didn’t actually give away too much. Not all of the jokes were in the trailer and it didn’t even reveal the full extent of the cast and the story. Very smart move there and it certainly works very well because the film comes as a complete surprise and I laughed so hard!
I am happy to report that this is a hilarious film and actually a very good one. It contains crude humor but it is done the way it really should be, and it handles its political satire just right. The story at hand is about a district in North Carolina, their congressman election is coming up and Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) is set to run unopposed. This does not sit well with CEO’s Glenn Motch (John Lithgow) and Wade Motch (Dan Aykroyd) who have something a little controversial they want to bring in the State, so they need a candidate they can use for their plan to work. They pick out community man Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), who runs the local Tourism Center to go up against Cam Brady. Marty has his own reasons for wanting to run, and this of course does not sit well with Brady. The show is on as these two compete for votes and the powers that be try to dictate how the election will go.
Most of that was not revealed in the trailer, and I don’t think I have spoiled it too much. The film works on so many levels, it is a straight out comedy, but it also puts on this crazy show of an election. It may seem that what they do for votes is silly and not realistic, but the fact is the reality isn’t that far off. Whenever we have to vote in elections, there is so much emphasis on ruining the public image of the direct competition that the actual issues tend to be forgotten about. The film actually plays this out perfectly, and there are moments where Marty Huggins just has no idea on what his policies will be, he is just a puppet for the Motch men under the guide of the campaign manager they assign (played by Dylan McDermott).
The performances were really good and quite enjoyable as a whole. Will Ferrell does not really do anything new here; Cam Brady is just a variation of other characters he has played before (eg – Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights). However with that said he was extremely entertaining and he did play it very well. He did feel like Will Ferrell through a lot of it, but there were other times he didn’t. The stand out here was Zach Galifianakis; this was a very different role for him. He really showed a lot of range here, and of course his comedic timing was perfect. The man is naturally very funny, and he blended this with an honest performance. The back and forth between Galifianakis and Ferrell was great, these two are gold. I really enjoyed the performances of Jason Sudeikis, who played Mitch the campaign manager of Cam and Dylan McDermott. Both men were quite good, and they embraced their roles and had fun with it. John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd need to do another film together, these two were great. They had fun with their evil rich men roles, and I actually wanted to see more of them. The rest of the cast was good too, and special mention to Sarah Baker as Mitzi Huggins, Marty’s wife, she was adorable.
The Campaign may just be my favourite comedy of the year along with 21 Jump Street. It hit all the right notes, and it was constantly funny. It had some predictability but that did not take away anything from the film as a whole. Jay Roach did a fantastic job, and this I think is one of his best works. It is a different kind of comedy from him, and it really is a successful one.