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This week, Papa Kenn reviews the latest comedy starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, a satire of American politics: THE CAMPAIGN!
Director: Jay Roach
Writers: Chris Henchy, Shawn Harwell
Starring: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, Brian Cox, Karen Maruyama
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Remember when Will Ferrell was really funny? Legitimately funny? Saturday Night Live, Anchorman, Old School…the man has a number of movies that are not only funny, but good films as well! Then Step Brothers happened and it has all been downhill from there. He’s falling into a similar pattern as Sandler, where all of his roles are basically the same overacted character with the same delivery of the same jokes with minor differences. In The Campaign, he has a southern accent and non-white-boy-afro hair, but the comedy delivery is just more of the same old, same old.
From the trailers, it seemed like Zach Galifianakis (whose last name is incredibly hard for me to spell correctly) was just what a Will Ferrell movie needed to pull him out of his cinematic rut. A strong comedian working off of another strong comedian.
Oh but wait! Galifianakis plays pretty much the same role in all of his movies too. (sigh) Crap.
Unfortunately that pattern continues in The Campaign, with Galifianakis acting just like all of his other roles, but this time with an incredibly annoying (and sometimes creepy) version of a southern accent.
I’m just going to get to the point. This movie is a comedy. It’s marketed that way; it stars two big time comedians (four actually); it has a big cast of characters that are more than capable of giving a great performance for the comedy to play off of; but as a comedy this movie fails. It fails hard. There are moments that had me and the theater audience laughing hard, but there are far too few of those moments. Like another movie that shall not be named, I can count on one hand how many times I laughed. Sure those were big laughs, but nowhere near enough to make this a good comedy.
While it fails comedically, The Campaign performs quite well in the area of political satire. It presents an annoyingly accurate portrayal of American politics today, ranging from political tactics and smear campaigns to Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow playing direct parodies of the Koch Brothers. Yes, Koch like the drink Coke. Not- oh nevermind.
In the third act of the movie, I was surprised to see some strong character development from one of the lead roles. It was actually a pretty inspiring scene up until they ruin it with the exact same horrible and unfunny gag that they had already done three times earlier in the movie. In fact, the whole movie has the core of a good dramatic political satire. The problem is that it’s hidden under ten layers of crap comedy, leaving us with only the occasional glimpse of what it could have been.
What this movie has is a good political message for all sides. It makes fools of both ends of the spectrum, rolls them through the mud, and gives us all an idea of just how bad it could get for politics in our country. For that reason alone, it might be worth seeing once after being released on DVD. Maybe. Or if you would rather save your money, not buy overpriced snacks and drinks, and get some actual quality entertainment to go along with your eye-opening political messages, you can watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report at home for an hour and a half!
I give The Campaign: 3/10
I’m Papa Kenn, and I’ll see you next review.