As if we don’t get enough “campaign” nonsense in our daily lives, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis want us to spend our hard-earned money watching them go at it over a congressional seat.
It’s a hit-and-miss attempt to expose the hypocrisy of election rhetoric, while giving us something silly to laugh about.
Cam Brady (Ferrell) is a five-time congressman from North Carolina who appears to be running unopposed, until some Washington power brokers, the Motch Brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd), decide to back a small-town tour guide, Marty Huggins (Galifianakis), because Brady won’t play ball.
The Motches want to bring a Chinese sweatshop factory to North Carolina to cut down on shipping costs. They think they’ll have Marty in their pockets so they can do as they please.
Marty may be a bit of a doofus, but he is a man of principle. Cam just wants to get re-elected, sleep with groupies and doesn’t give a hoot about his district.
A professional campaign manager, Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermott), is brought in to manage Marty’s bid for office. He’s willing to use every dirty trick in the book to get his man elected, but that may not sit well with the candidate.
The mudslinging escalates to a fever pitch, which now starts to register on the national radar. Everyone wants to see what Marty and Cam will do to each other next. And it’s not pretty.
The movie does have its funny moments, but none funnier than the come-clean dinner scene, featuring Marty, wife Mitzi and their two boys. Marty wants everyone to confess any problems that might pop up during the campaign so as not to cause any future embarrassment.
Each revelation is more hysterical than the previous. I was nearly in tears.
Unfortunately, the rest of the movie doesn’t come anywhere near that scene, and it falls back on the crude and the startling to make up for the witty and comical.
And if you’re wondering if Cam Brady actually punches “that baby” by accident, you’ll have to see for yourself. Plus, the movie could have used more of Jason Sudeikis’ insights and less of Will Ferrell’s rants.
There was a clever idea here and occasionally it pays off, but for the most part it felt like an over-mined plot with nowhere to go but down.
If you elect to see “The Campaign,” keep your expectations low.