Published August 09, 2012
Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis give the election season a piercingly funny and relevant half time show in “The Campaign.”
It was only a matter of time before Ferrell and Galifianakis crossed swords on screen, and the combination of their distinctive styles of humor are as natural as a politician kissing a baby.
Veteran comedy director Jay Roach keeps this riled up political satire simple and on message, never resorting to cheap raunchiness. The comedy is quick-witted and is a product of watching two talented comedians duke it out.
Ferrell is the boisterous, foul-mouthed and lecherous Cam Brady, the unopposed North Carolina Democratic Congressional incumbent who unexpectedly finds a challenger with naive, homebody Marty Huggins (Galifianakis). As the race heats up, both men resort to petty and crude tactics to publicly humiliate each other.
Nothing is off limits in “The Campaign,” which keeps the film from becoming stale. Attacks range from criticizing politician’s pets to family activities to sexcapades and ... “The Price is Right?”
Ferrell and Galifianakis take their cracks at preposterous attack ads, debate trash talking, campaign managers -- everything except the issues.
“The Campaign’s” message is bipartisan, although you will certainly find similarities to past and present candidates on both sides. It magnifies and ridicules what lengths politicians go to in order to get the vote. The two character arcs will keep you caring about them in between laughing at them.
Ultimately, “The Campaign” hilariously comes down to who is more American, and getting to that answer is very funny, but not very pretty.
The film also stars Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow as the nefarious Motch brothers, who use Huggins as a pawn in order to gain power over the district. Brady’s campaign manager is straight laced Mitch (Jason Sudeikis), the only level headed character in the film, while Marty Huggins is paired with the shadowy, ninja-like Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermott).
Galifianakis, love him or hate him, has become one of the most successful comedians in recent years, and “The Campaign” solidifies his place as one of today’s funniest actors. His schtick in “The Campaign” is simple and seems almost effortless, with his lisp, flamboyant attitude and bloated over-sized bleeding heart. His Marty Huggins is charming and there’s a little bit of him in all of us, which makes “The Campaign” a successful one.
Hopefully “The Campaign” is just the first and not the last collaboration with Ferrell and Galifianakis. The two could very well become a memorable and lasting comedy duo if given the right projects.