28 July 2013

Politic-A-Thon: The Campaign Review

Continuing with the Politic-A-Thon, I think it's time to talk about a political comedy and I think I've chosen right. There are a lot of comedic possibilities that can be created from a US Congressional Election and The Campaign makes good use of these different elements. From baby kissing to Communist bashing, all aspects of a campaign are shown in this film. I only wish the film was funnier.
The plot of the film is, essentially, a political campaign for a Congressional district in North Carolina but with a lot of different elements in the background. It shows the influence big business has over elections, the way in which scandal can affect a candidates popularity, the extent to which some candidates will go to win an election and the incredibly over-the-top adverts attacking the opponent. There are a lot of times when these elements in The Campaign produce some really good laughs but some jokes related to this are repeated too many times and there are a lot of jokes that do not hit the right note. I also have to say that the ending of the film gets a bit too sentimental for my liking and seems to be a bit of an anticlimax considering all the stuff that happened before.

While the issues of a campaign can be inherently funny, without a good cast willing to go the distance for these jokes, The Campaign would just fall flat on its face. Thankfully, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis give their all to these roles. They both completely sell the nature of these characters, Ferrell being the cocky, egotistical incumbent and Galifianakis being the naive, inexperienced newbie. A lot of the comedy comes from the way these two interact both with each other and the people around them, mainly in the way they influence the voters and all the insane stuff that happens as a result, as seen with a riot starting during a debate. The supporting players in the film are all really good, there's some great comedy coming from the paring of Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow, Brian Cox gets a few good lines and Dylan McDermott steals the show whenever he is on screen, especially when he introduces himself to Galifianakis. The political world of the film is also fleshed out by a great set of cameos from people like Bill Maher and Piers Morgan (the most loathsome media personality not having the surname Murdoch) and the way all of these people treat the absurd events seriously is what helps the best humour of The Campaign stick.

Overall though, there are too many jokes in the film which fall flat to make me fully recommend it and most of the film is just forgettable. I mean I have written this review a few hours after watching The Campaign and I have forgotten the jokes in at least half of the film. This is a time when good comedic performances do not make up for a mediocre script.

My Rating: 3/5

P.S. Found out that the director of this film also directed the TV films Game Change and Recount. Definitely a diverse show in the political film range of this director.

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