The Campaign (2012)


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.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011)


If You’ll Excuse Me, I Can Feel the Blood Rushing Back Into My Sword

My inspiration for today’s movie was twofold.  First, I knew that at least three of the people that were in the movie were people that I find hilarious.  Second, it arrived from Netflix because I wasn’t paying good attention to my queue.  And, if there were to be a third thing, it would be that the word “orgy” is in the title, and I could watch this without feeling bad, as I do every time I watch porn.  The problem with the first reason is that I find those three people funny, but I’ve also been underwhelmed by the results of their involvement with a movie before.  How did they do this time?  We’ll find out in my review of A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, written and directed by Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, and starring Jason Sudeikis, Michelle Borth, Tyler Labine, Lake Bell, Nick Kroll, Lindsay Sloane, Martin Starr, Angela Sarafyan, Leslie Bibb, Will Forte, Lucy Punch, Lin Shaye, David Koechner, and Don Johnson.

Eric (Jason Sudeikis) loves to throw giant elaborate parties at the house of his father, Jerry (Don Johnson).  Most of these parties he throws with his close friends from high school – Sue (Michelle Borth), Mike (Tyler Labine), Alison (Lake Bell), Adam (Nick Kroll), Laura (Lindsay Sloane), Glenn (Will Forte), Glenn’s wife Kate (Lucy Punch), Doug (Martin Starr), and Doug’s girlfriend Willow (Angela Sarafyan).  At Eric’s White Trash Bash, he meets Kelly (Leslie Bibb) and gets her number.  The next morning, Eric’s father tells him that he’s selling the house because he doesn’t need it anymore.  Realtor’s Dody (Lin Shaye) and Kelly are in charge of the sale.  Eric and Mike decide that they need to throw one last party, but it needs to be special.  After some brainstorming, Eric decides that the group’s last party should be an orgy.  Most of the group takes a while to come around to it, but eventually they are all in.

I went into this movie as a fan of Nick Kroll, Tyler Labine, and Jason Sudeikis from some of their other endeavors.  Though this movie did not change that, I found it underwhelming.  It’s not a bad movie, and there are one or two solid laughs in the movie, but that seems like it’s a bit low for something that is exclusively a comedy.  The other jokes were not painful failures at funniness; it just didn’t have anything good enough to make me laugh.  They got a lot of mileage out of uncomfortable situations such as a lady having a heated argument with her boyfriend on opposite sides of the bathroom door while another guy was on the toilet in the bathroom with her, or like having a conversation with a guy while he was preoccupied with having sex with a woman who should’ve stopped appearing naked on camera roughly 20 years ago.  I’ve also noticed an upsetting trend in comedies recently.  Far too many comedies recently are going for the shock value laugh of putting some wang up on screen.  Walk Hard did it, Forgetting Sarah Marshall did it, and this movie does it as well.  My problem with this isn’t just the fact that, as a straight man, I’ve no real interest in seeing dick.  I look at penises all the time … when I’m watching porn.  I don’t like being caught off guard by it.  Also, it just seems too easy.  It makes you shocked and uncomfortable and people tend to laugh as a release for that stuff, but that is not to be mistaken for something that’s actually funny.  Boobs and vagina being on display is rarely used as comedy by itself, so why should it be that just putting a penis on screen is comedy?  The only occasion I can think of that boobs by themselves were the joke was in the movie Airplane!, and that wasn’t the one of the only funny things in the movie.  …Perhaps I’ve talked about penis too much…  The movie does not disappoint with its title.  There is indeed a big orgy at the end of the movie.  It’s much sweeter and nicer than the orgies that I’m accustomed to.  It’s like if a group of friends that were really comfortable with each other decided to get down and dirty.  They would joke around while fucking, so it wasn’t as obscene as someone might expect going into it.  But I ultimately went into the movie looking for laughs, and found them few and far between.  I can find boobs much easier.

I like the people in the cast of this movie, but none of them really succeeded in doing much for me in this movie.  Jason Sudeikis seemed a lot like his character from SNL where he plays one of two assholes, along with Kristen Wiig.  And, though I really like those sketches, I didn’t find much of interest in his character.  He was just kinda douchey.  I’ve ranted over a particular movie that Tyler Labine was in before, playing a sweet and innocent hillbilly in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.  He played it kind of stupid and sweet again in this one, but without the writing quality of the other movie, it never had much effect.  I was also all in for Nick Kroll, having loved his comedy special and his appearances on the Doug Loves Movies podcast, but this role was hardly a stretch for him.  He played a neurotic Jew.  What else is new?  I don’t really blame the cast for this movie not connecting with me, but I also can’t claim that any of them really connected with me.  All of the main cast females were attractive and did their parts, but none stood out.  There were a pretty good amount of nice-lookin’ boobs; I’ll give the movie that much.

Perhaps I expected too much because of my bias towards some of the cast members, but I found myself to be very underwhelmed by A Good Old Fashioned Orgy.  It wasn’t laughably bad, but nothing else was making me laugh either.  I liked the cast; I just didn’t connect with them in any way.  Sadly, I can’t really recommend this movie.  But, with comedy being so subjective, it’s hard to say what different people will find funny.  This movie just wasn’t for me.  A Good Old Fashioned Orgy gets “Endurance training.  For Labor Day” out of “This is the worst orgy ever.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Going the Distance (2010)


I had found myself interested in seeing today’s movie since it came out, just never enough to actually watch it.  But thanks to a trip to RedBox, I was able to check it off my bucket list.  Today’s movie is Bucket List.  Oh wait, no it’s not.  It’s Going the Distance, starring Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, and Christina Applegate.

This movie is about a boy (Long) and a girl (Barrymore) who become acquainted personally over beers and acquainted physically shortly thereafter.  Barrymore is hesitant to make it anything serious because she’s only in New York on an internship and she must return to California in 6 weeks to complete her degree to become a journalist.  Long can’t leave because he’s he’s some quasi-hot shot music scout, so they agree to make it nothing serious.  Then, of course, it turns serious and they try the long distance thing, which as always, causes problems, and the rest of the movie is dealing with that.

The best part by far of this little rom-com is the casting.  I find Barrymore and Long (or BarryLong, as I believe they were a real life couple at least for a time) to be charming and funny, but they’re overshadowed in funniness by their supporting cast.  Charlie Day (from It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia and Horrible Bosses) plays Long’s roommate, who is also basically Charlie from IASiP, but I don’t mind if he can only play the same character as long as it’s still hilarious, which he is.  Jason Sudeikis (from SNL and Hall Pass) is also here, and also hilarious.  Christina Applegate is great at playing quasi-neurotic, up-tight, supporting roles.  Jim Gaffigan is her husband, and pretty funny.  Rob Riggle and Mike Birbiglia also show up in the movie, though neither really leave too much of an impact.  And my favorite, Kristen Schaal, has the highest hilarity-to-screentime percentage by far.

It usually seems as if Rom-Coms are held to a lower standard in the writing department because girls seem to just need to see a love story so whatever else is there is irrelevant.  Thankfully people seemed to actually write this movie and threw in a good deal of the funny.  For instance, later in the movie, when Drew Barrymore is drunkenly being removed from a bar while yelling at a big, biker looking guy to suck her dick, that was good times.  Also, near the end of the movie, Long compares his relationship with Barrymore to the classic arcade game Centipede.  I hope to have a Gears of War-style relationship one day.

So, I’m not generally much for the Rom-Com, but I like this one.  It’s definitely worth taking a look at, and if you’re one of them “vagina-havin'” types, you might could even buy it.  I give this movie a “funny enough for a man, but made for a woman” out of 17.