When you think of a Will Ferrell film nowadays, you don’t always think of his best works, like Old School or Talladega Nights. You think of the more heart-wrenching tales of his demise like Stranger Than Fiction or Everything Must Go. I would even say that the general populace has forgotten his originals and forgotten his presidential skits on Saturday Night Live. The Campaign aims to send out a reminder. A reminder delivered using two of the most outrageous comedians we have available today. Utilizing our current state in politics as the subject in combination with daring pranks and nearly offensive comicality. This gag show might be just what we needed to put a campaign based in reality into perspective.
In The Campaign, we have a chance to see the tastelessness of certain politicians with Cam Brady (Will Ferrell); a dangerously cocky and incoherent member of congress who wants nothing more in this world than to continue his free reign behind the watchful eye of our media. Being in his position has its benefits and he certainly doesn’t want to have to go back to being a faithful, unfaltering member of society. So he will have to run for another term in congress in order to keep it all. Running unopposed seems to work best for him but that will not be the case here. Ferrell is able to deliver this performance simply by channelling his impression of one of history’s biggest screw-ups, George W. Bush. I have secretly wanted a Bush movie starring Ferrell for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, I believe this is the closest we will get, but it’s definitely a worthy alternative. Especially since some will even claim this movie is, at its core, the story of Mr. Ron Burgundy as a seated member of our congress.
Zach Galifianakis plays the enigmatic Marty Huggins; an ambitious tour guide with dreams and hopes just like every good red-blooded American. His character is almost too reminiscent to his role in Due Date starring Robert Downey Jr. But subtle use of morality and humour make him far more bearable in this flick. Marty comes from a line of political figures. A fact that works well for two corporate schemers out to save a few dollars. Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow play Glenn and Wade Motch, owners of the Motch Corporation. A company hell bent on saving as much money in manufacturing as possible. Companies are known for doing just that by outsourcing and paying underage migrant workers drastically low salaries to build and manage products. The Motch Corporation has developed insourcing as an alternative by selling land in the U.S. to representatives in China. Then factories are built on that land and migrant workers are moved over to continue working in terrible conditions and for far less than a respectable salary. This also saves the company a butt-load of money in shipping over-seas. They need more politicians to play ball though so they decide to use Marty Huggins to steal the North Carolina District right out from under the unsuspecting nose of Congressman, Cam Brady.
With those two major comedians providing the consistent gags and tropes, it’s not hard to stay distracted from the rest of the power-packed cast. Jason Sudeikis is Brady’s campaign manager, Mitch, and he does so by playing more of the friendly role. You could even go as far as calling him the Jiminy Cricket character to a faltering politician. It is his task to be the conscience in a field that feels no guilt. Dylan McDermott as the Huggins campaign manager was a big surprise for me, although, I felt he was sort of wasted. The best parts about his character were loosely mentioned at the end where no impact could have been had. A name you may not recognize, Katherine LaNasa played the bitchy and unsupportive wife, Rose Brady. She was an exact replica of Leslie Bibbs character in Talladega Nights. That role felt so recycled and over-used in this film though, that it just annoyed me by the time it was all over.
Regardless of a few misused actors, I felt this movie opened our eyes to a different side of politics that we have been waiting to see. A side we see in everyday life but is far less funny when it is happening for real. Having the opportunity to remove yourself from the situation and watch the hilarity ensue was a real treat. This movie will definitely be added to the long list of Ferrell Classics and for that, I give The Campaign 4 out of 5 Nerdskulls.