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The Campaign - Review

The Campaign

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

IF Armando Iannucci ‘s Veep represents US political comedy at its most intelligent then Jay Roach’s The Campaign is the low-brow equivalent – but it still manages to make you laugh.

The film finds Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis playing rival politicians from the same party vying for a seat in Congress.

Ferrell’s Cam Brady is the present incumbent whose recent indiscretion prompts two unscrupulous CEOs (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) to finance a challenger, in the form of Galifianakis’ Marty Huggins, so that they can implement their own plan for financial gain at the expense of America more smoothly.

But where Brady is arrogant and self-sabotaging, Huggins is out of his depth and bumbling, prompting the arrival of a ruthless campaign manager (Dylan McDermott) to manage his path to victory.

The Campaign may ultimately be more worried about making you laugh than think but it’s an entertaining ride nonetheless despite going for easy targets.

The interplay between Ferrell and Galifianakis is highly amusing, while a couple of the big set piece moments are genuinely laugh out loud funny (especially if you’ve not seen the trailer). A surprise cameo is also a bit of a crowd-pleaser for some of the more movie aware among you.

Performance-wise, no one is particularly stretched with Ferrell content to roll out another of his amiably idiotic egotists riding for a fall and Galifianakis tapping into another of his highly eccentric, slightly camp oddballs (a la Due Date and The Hangover).

But there’s fun support from McDermott’s slick campaign manager and Brian Cox’s incredulous dad, as well as Jason Sudeikis as Ferrell’s right-hand man.

Intriguingly, Roach – whose movie hits include Austin Powers and Meet The Parents – recently directed another political drama, Game Change, to Emmy winning success, while Ferrell is also no stranger to political comedy, having played George Bush to widespread acclaim in Will Ferrell: You’re Welcome America – A Final Night with George W Bush on Broadway.
But The Campaign is a long way from that kind of political calibre.

Rather, it’s self-consciously OTT and dumb yet content to play to its own particular strengths, albeit by exaggerating some of the elements that go into a US political campaign. Given that it does succeed in making you laugh in spite of its flaws and shortcomings, it deserves to get your vote.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 85mins
UK Release Date: September 28, 2012