The campaign

Praise the lord and pass the jokes

Hollywood has tried to cash in on the US presidential election fever with its latest installation of a Will Ferrell cash cow.

Pitting two rivals in a fictitious election campaign over the future of a North Carolina district, Mr Ferrell plays democratic incumbent, Cam Brady, who will do anything to remain in office. Zach Galifianakis is his naïve but idealistic republican opponent, Marty Huggins.
With these two stars in the lead, it is clear that The Campaign will never be an accurate portrayal of the great game that is the modern American political process. But where the film lacks in credibility, it drips in light satire which highlights the ballooning, sound-byte absurdities of the election process. Cam’s platform revolves solely around constantly repeating “America, Jesus, Freedom,” intermingled with calls to “support our troops,” which he is confident will win him the election.

The film itself follows a formula which can best be described as lather, rinse, repeat. It also affords its star, Mr Ferrell, ample opportunity to play his favourite type of character: the affable, buffoonish frat man-boy, who talks big but has little idea of what he is saying. Mr Galifianakis, on the other hand, plays his role of the political aspirant with some finesse.

Both contenders punch below the belt, but they are hardly villainous. The real blackguards in this story are a pair of multi-millionaires, the Motch brothers (played by Dan Akroyd and John Lithgow), who plan to sell the entire district to the Chinese and to dreams of paying workers 50¢ an hour. The brothers, who may be based on the notoriously conservative and real-life Koch bothers, are nothing more than a gag here.

There are a few, very funny sequences in the film. Most, however, are diluted in typical Will Ferrell fare — slapstick and scenarios which usually result in something outrageous by Mr Ferrell, such as punching a baby and a dog — albeit by accident. Ultimately, the movie ends – or one should say, unravels, on the premise that everything works out for the better in the end. It’s a wonderful thought. The filmmakers seem to want to believe it. Even if it carries a hollow ring to it.

This one is largely forgettable and can be safely missed. Its most endearing quality will be its short length. Mild and unnecessary nudity does not improve the story.

Comments (+)