Tuesday, August 21, 2012
While there have been a share of good movies this summer, I would have to say that this has been one of the worst times for comedies that I can remember. Sure, Ted and The Dictator were alright, but no comedy has really been able to shine. My hope was that The Campaign would be the comedy that broke through the barrier, but my expectations were not too high. Zach Galifianakis is an absolute genius comedically and has built a reputation that makes it easy for him to sell his characters to almost anyone who enjoys laughing. If that's not enough, Will Ferrell is one of the funniest men of all time, and he already pulled off a very good George W. Bush, so playing a politician shouldn't be much of a challenge for him. Everything pointed towards The Campaign being a great success, and the trailers were absolutely hilarious. Let's just say that I was very eager to laugh...
As with most R-rated comedies, the plot lacked any depth at all. However, there were many, many laughs along the way. Galifianakis's Marty Huggins and Ferrell's Cam Brady both pushed the limits in their respective campaigns, easily going beyond any form of realism. Sometimes people just need a good laugh from a totally stupid comedy, and that's what you get with The Campaign. While I didn't mind the stupidity, I did wish for more poking fun at politics and specific political moments. I wanted a Clinton joke or an Anthony Weiner joke or something, but everything was pretty generic. The comedy just wasn't quite clever enough for me.
As is with any shallow film, the characters in The Campaign were the only thing that could save it... and they did! Unfortunately, I didn't love every character, but I loved some of them greatly. If only everybody could be Zach Galifianakis...
In my opinion, Will Ferrell was not at his best in this film. While I don't consider him the greatest comedic actor of all time, I have seen him in some really great roles. However, Galifiniakis overshadowed him by so much that there was no way he could really shine, as Cam Brady, in his usual Will Ferrell way. Probably the worst performance was that of Jason Sudeikis as Brady's campaign manager. Normally, I find Sudeikis semi-funny, but he was awful in this film. Also, I was not a huge fan of the "bad guys," the Motch brothers, played by Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow.
As I've already said, Zach Galifianakis is terrific, and I love him for it!!! The character of Marty Huggins was very different from his usual, but he was great! There were other great performances, as well, from a few unsuspected performers. Huggins's kids (played by Grant Goodman and Kya Haywood) were absolutely hilarious. Usually I don't laugh at scenes that I have seen in the trailer ten billion times, but the dinner table scene from the trailer is ten times funnier in the actual movie, because of those kids. Finally, kudos to Karen Maruyama as Mrs. Yao, who did a great job with her voice impressions. They cracked me up!
There were certainly some low points to The Campaign, but, overall, I thought it was quite grand. I just wanted a movie that would make me laugh, and I got it. The power that is Zach Galifianakis might be growing quicker than any other comedic power out there, which gets me super excited. I, personally, can't wait for The Hangover III (out next summer!). For Will Ferrell, I hope he gets some sort of boost from this film, and I also hope that his next film is a much, much better fit for him. And, for the summer comedies of 2012, well, they certainly got a boost from The Campaign. I'm just not sure if it was enough to break the barrier. We will just have to keep waiting for a great comedy. Who knows what it may be? I give The Campaign 2.89 out of 5 stars.