Because Filipino Tilt-a-Whirl Operators are This Nation’s Backbone!
My interest was piqued in today’s movie because of the two actors that starred in it, but I probably wouldn’t have gone to the theater for it. I feel like I’ve been burned by one of the actors in the movie before, though the other has not really let me down just yet. I guess I looked at the movie and just felt like I didn’t trust it to be worth my money, so I had set my mind to waiting to see it until it came out on DVD and I could get it from RedBox. But when Friendboss Josh suggested we go see it, I decided to go. I was on the fence anyway; I just needed a little nudge. And that brings us to my review of The Campaign, written by Chris Hency and Shawn Harwell, directed by Jay Roach, and starring Zach Galifianakis, Will Ferrell, Dan Aykroyd, John Lithgow, Dylan McDermott, Jason Sudeikis, Brian Cox, Katherine LaNasa, Sarah Baker, Jack McBrayer, and John Goodman.
Democratic Congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) has found himself in a sticky situation after he accidentally leaves a sexually explicit message meant for his mistress on the answering machine of a very conservative Christian family. In response, the two corrupt businessmen that formerly backed Cam, brothers Glen (John Lithgow) and Wade Motch (Dan Aykroyd) decide they need a new candidate to run against Cam with their backing so that they can later manipulate him into letting them bring the Chinese tradition of sweat shop labor to America. They pick Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), eccentric – and possibly gay – son of former politician and Motch brothers associate, Raymond Huggins (Brian Cox), and set Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermott) to be Marty’s campaign manager and hopefully fix the mess that is Marty enough to make him a viable candidate. And so begins the battle for the Congressional seat of North Carolina’s 14th District.
When I left this movie, I found myself torn in regards to its quality, but Friendboss Josh helped me set myself straight. I had gotten it into my head that the movie was underwhelming because there were points within this movie that I was not laughing, but then Josh reminded me that movies tend to feel the need to include story, which sometimes needs to be exposition and not laughs. I don’t really know what I was thinking. The only things that can pull off non-stop laughter are videos on YouTube with the word “Fail” in the title. And Josh was kind enough to remind me that I laughed out loud on more than one occasion during this movie. …But fuck Josh! He doesn’t tell me what to do in a non-work setting! I HATE THIS MOVIE! Okay, I don’t. When I got to thinking about it in the proper head space, I realized that I did find this movie funny enough to recommend for a viewing. The story was pretty solid. The tactics in the battle ramp up in new and mostly hilarious and preposterous ways. I also found it very interesting that the guy we had liked from the beginning of the movie and the guy we hated started to trade places at one point in the movie, though it’s probably not that atypical of a thing to see in a movie like this. And, though it goes mostly in the way you’d expect, the way it gets there is filled with enough solid laughs that it’s okay. It would be no spoilers if you saw the trailer for the movie, but I probably laughed the hardest when Cam pulled a Raging Bull on that baby. First because it was in slow-mo, and second because to Hell with that baby. The only other part I can really remember making me laugh really hard was the part where Cam’s car had a painting of him sitting down on the side of his car, which I found hilarious. There were plenty of other moments, but I took shitty notes. I mean … I don’t want to ruin it …?
The performances were pretty much exactly what I expected them to be. Galifianakis was probably not as funny as I’d want him to be, but I probably just hold him in too high of a regard. I’ve loved him for a long time and I probably just always want him to blow my mind with his hilariousness. The character he does in this movie is funny, but it’s also one I’ve seen him do in a few different places before. I wouldn’t necessarily assume that the character would be able to sustain an entire movie, but it did alright and brought a good deal of funny. I liked his awkward attempts to trash talk with Cam, but more of the actual funny came from Ferrell in that exchange. Ferrell was also a pretty typical character for him, being the smug, stupid, douche nozzle type, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t do it well. And he punched a baby right in its stupid face. Speaking of stupid faces, how was Galifianakis’ chubby son in the movie able to pull off a perfectly round face? He was like a Charlie Brown character.
Once my crazy expectations were put in check, I came to realize that I found The Campaign plenty funny enough to earn a recommendation. The story was not unexpected, but contained plenty enough laughs, and that’s all a comedy really needs, and the same could mostly be said about the performances. It’s not the most mind-blowing comedy ever, but it’s good, solid laughs and worth checking out. The Campaign gets “Rainbow Land is a fictitious place!” out of “I’m Cam Brady, and I seductively approve this message.”
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