Movies: The Campaign

Starring: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott
Directed By: Jay Roach
Written By: Chris Henchy & Shawn Harwell
Warner Bros., 2012
R; 85 min
1.5 stars (out of 5)


Dylan McDermott is just about the best thing about this movie, and that's saying something. Bad. That's saying something bad. Because McDermott is hardly in the movie at all.

The Campaign simply isn't funny. One would think with Ferrell and Galifianakis to tap into, this movie would have at least a handful of laughs in it, but it doesn't. Most of the jokes fall flat. Many more are stale. The politician caught with his mistress? Puh-leez. Big money funding a shady campaign? This is me rolling my eyes.

I will say The Campaign starts weak and gets slightly stronger as it goes on, to the point that the end is the best part (and only partly due to the fact that it's a relief the movie is over). Unfortunately, by the time things start to get even a little more interesting, the viewer's attention has already wandered.

The plot itself is cardboard: Ferrell plays Cam Brady, a North Carolinian congressman running for his fifth term. He's slated to win despite his known nasty habits because he's running unopposed—until Galifianakis' Marty Huggins throws his hat in the ring. Huggins is something of a local bumpkin, the sweet-natured son of a local bigwig. Alas, despite his meaning well, Huggins is unwittingly backed by big business looking to sell the 14th district to China.

There's something about the movie as a whole that smacks of too many creatives dipping their balls in the soup (if you'll pardon my words, but I figure I might as well be in keeping with the crude humor The Campaign leverages in place of anything that's actually funny). I can't tell whether the writers were inexperienced, or the actors and director simply strong-armed the script, or both, but the result is—as Huggins would say—a mess. I typically enjoy Will Ferrell's movies, but this one is a bust.

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