Movie Review: The Campaign

Published August 26, 2012 by mrsrag

Starring: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, Brian Cox.

Rated R.  Comedy.  Running Time: 1 hour 25 minutes.

We watched an interview of Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis on the Charlie Rose Show shortly before we saw the movie, and they really had some chemistry going on.  They were feeding off each other, making the usually serious Charlie Rose lose his shit laughing, and they were effusively extolling their awesome experiences on the set of The Campaign.  I just knew this movie had to be fantastic.  I love Will Ferrell.  Old School, Stranger Than Fiction, Step Brothers, Saturday Night Live.  C’mon.  Galifianakis.  Quirky ass dude from The Hangover movies.  Can’t miss.  Cannot miss.  Guess what?  Missed.

I love Will Ferrell.  Ross likes him…I. love. him.  Step Brothers is one of my all time favorite movies.  It’s like Adam McKay (1 of 5 producers of The Campaign), Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly went into my head and created the story.  I’ve wasted numerous hours watching and re-watching Old School, Anchorman and, the lesser known, Blades of Glory.  I’m no stranger to Galifianakis either.  I’ve been a fan of his for years.  I first came upon Zach while he was doing stand-up and even got a chance to see him for peanuts at Edwards auditorium, whilst attending the University of Rhode Island.  Chatted and hung out with the dude for a bit.  My college friends and I even had him prank phone call a good friend of ours, Jon, who couldn’t make it to the show because he was studying for finals.  The show was great and he was very gracious afterward.  Sadly, I was mildly disappointed with this film.   Mildly – because I half expected it.  Just seemed too good to be true from the start.  I believe it must have been a hoot to film, but on screen it just appeared over-the-top.

I had forgotten Maria told me about meeting Gakifiankis in college.  But I know she loves Ferrell.  She quotes the guy so often, sometimes I’m not sure she’s talking TO me or using Ferrell wisdom ON me.  I’m like, “Wait, are you asking me a serious question, or is that a Will Ferrell quote?”  I’m batting .500.  Okay so the movie, they’re opposing candidates in a North Carolina congressional race.  Ferrell is the incumbent, who ususally runs unopposed.  His character is a caricature of every horny, corrupt, useless politician; and the reason the movie lost me very quickly.  Even a spoof comedy has to have a base in somewhat believable reality.  This guy couldn’t possibly get elected to any position anywhere.  He’s so morally bankrupt, he couldn’t be elected shotgun on a garbage truck.  Galifianakis’ character isn’t much better.  A quasi-gay, married man, who is clueless about anything in real life.  His father (Cox), is a grizzled, old timer, obviously disappointed with such a fop for a son.  He jumps at the opportunity presented to him by the Motch brothers (Aykroyd and Lithgow), to have his son run against the ridiculous Cam Brady (Ferrell).  They’re super rich and want to bring a Chinese sweatshop to North Carolina to make even more money.  Buy the election with the naive doofus, get what you want.  Maybe I’m losing my je ne c’est quoi, but I need a little more for my comedic entertainment.

I didn’t completely hate it – the film had its moments.  I guess we just come to expect a certain degree of hilarity from these two stars, especially when they’re together.  I found the WMHT interview with Charlie Rose, the one Ross mentioned earlier, more amusing than the movie.  Galifianakis is so noticeably stoned in the interview and he takes some classic stabs at Chick-Fil-A and Sarah Palin.  At one point in the interview he tells Rose to let him know when he’s thinking of retiring because he would love to take over.  Then he plugs his bit on Ferrell’s website ‘Funny or Die’.  The bit is called ‘Between Two Ferns’ and its similar in premise to Rose’s show, except that Zach is a complete asshole to his guests.  I would seriously recommend you give the bit a look.  Some of my favorite interviews he conducts are Jon Stewart, Richard Branson and Jon Hamm.  Sadly, The Campaign just didn’t float my boat, which doesn’t jive with their track record.  It seemed like a great idea that just didn’t translate to the big screen.

Never a giant fan of horribly uncomfortable humor either, I’m not as wild about “Between Two Ferns” as Maria is.  If you do like that, Meet The Parents-type, cringe worthy stuff, you will love it.  Galifianakis has no conscience with his “guests” and anything goes (the Michael Cera interview is unbelievable).  I do agree that the Charlie Rose piece and BTF are both better than The Campaign.  Of course it had a couple of laughs, and there are a few incidents that are incredibly over the top.  Without giving anything away, a couple of the ads they each endorse are absurd, as well as the hunting trip incident which you may have seen in the previews.  Let me sum up my feelings.  If this movie was presented as an Airplane!, or Naked Gun-type total spoof, I probably could have bought it more, but it isn’t.  They are parodying Washington and these characters are just not believable at all.  I actually found the end to be the best part of The Campaign and that surely isn’t saying much.  My advice would be, at best, wait for the video.  At least then if you hate it, you’ll only be out two bucks.  I’m sure Ferrell and Galifianakis have much better in store for us in the future, they have to, because they couldn’t do much worse.

Maria’s Rating: 2.5 Gummy Bears out of 5.

Ross’ Rating:  1 Gummy Bear. 

    

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