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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Nov 14: The Campaign


Nov 14: The Campaign

"In order to gain influence over their North Carolina district, two CEOs seize an opportunity to oust long-term congressman Cam Brady by putting up a rival candidate. Their man: naive Marty Huggins, director of the local Tourism Center."
Directed by: Jay Roach, Rated: R, 85 minutes

This year has been ridiculous when it comes to politics. From the most expensive campaign in history to Southern states threatening to secede, it's been a crazy few months. Riding on this wave of unnecessary, The Campaign, a political spoof comedy, attempts to poke even more fun at the situation. Pitting Will Ferrell against Zach Galifianakis sounds like a great idea, but unfortunately the film never really takes off and suffers from the "saw-it-in-the-trailer-so-it's-not-as-funny-anymore" effect.

Believe it or not, baby punching actually gets old. 

Cam Brady (Ferrell) is a four-term congressman from Hammond, NC. He's a womanizing jerk off who lies, cheats, and does whatever he can to maintain his office. In his own words, he's a great politician but a horrible congressman. Enter Mary Huggins (Galifianakis), a simple man obsessed with his little town who also happens to be the son of Raymond Huggins, a successful campaign manager. When the Motch Brothers (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) decide to back Huggins for congressman, in hopes of manipulating him, Brady goes into defensive mode to keep his office while facing off against the very incapable Huggins. What ensues are campaigns of the two men that are full of the worst things concerning politics (scandals, lying, baby punching, etc) and their continued attempts to outdo the other to win the election.

 Two pugs don't make a right. 

As I mentioned, The Campaign loses a lot of its jokes to the advertisements and trailers littered everywhere before its release. Every scene that would be funny is nothing new and the majority of the film feels like it's something you've seen before. You can tell while these scenes were used in the advertising, because they really are the most interesting parts of the movie. Everything else is just boring and drags on, and by the end of the film, both men have very little going for them and prove to be pretty awful human beings. Even the somewhat likable Huggins becomes too annoying to really cheer for and the end result leads to more frustration than anything else. Any attempt to be a true spoof of the political environment gets thrown out of the door because of the shear over-the-top ridiculousness of The Campaign. What starts out as a smart idea simply catapults itself into stupidity and loses any excitement or creativity about twenty minutes into the movie. I can't quite call this a big shame as I wasn't expecting much for the film but a part of me was enthusiastic about the possibility of something as fun as say, Anchorman or Step Brothers.

If only there was more room for activities...

I like to think of myself as a patient man but Will Ferrell and Zach Galifanakis continue to test me over and over. Both funny men have amazing talent and can make me laugh like no one else, but their continued recycling of the same characters, voices, and even jokes is getting tiresome. The Campaign is no exception and while it's not as stupid as all of Adam Sandler's messy turds, it really lacks any focus or heart and loses itself along the way. It's not that it tries too hard as much as it seems that the film was kind of a dud right off the bat. It's simply too uninspired and really not that funny to call an instant classic and it's hardly quotable like all of Ferrell's other films. The Campaign is something that can easily be missed and forgotten and I would not recommend checking it out. However, if you do have a strong curiosity to take a peek, it's not as bad as a lot of other stuff that's out there now.

The Good:
very few moments that warrant a chuckle and a rather interesting buildup to the story
The Bad:
that same buildup almost immediately falters and you're left bored, not entertained, and very frustrated
The Ugly:
wondering if Ferrell and Galifanakis will ever find their feet again and produce quality comedies that are both fresh and funny

Overall: 5.0/10

Discussion Question:
Are you surprised there are not more political movies out there? Or is that genre too uninteresting and familiar to be funny anymore?


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At November 15, 2012 at 3:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also felt like this was a bit disappointing. I didn't hate it, but it wasn't as good as some of other films within the same comedy genre. It had its moments, but like you said, it suffered from the trailer spoiling the majority of them. I am a bit of a political nerd, so I like stuff like this, but I wanted more. You know when you are watching a movie, and you want it to go in a direction, and it just doesn't. Or it just doesn't do something the way that you feel it should be done. That is how I felt with this film. Still didn't regret watching it. It was fun for what it was worth.

At November 15, 2012 at 3:55 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Good comment. Glad to see I wasn't alone in thinking it was eh. It really could have been greater..


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