Will Ferrell Maps out a Hilarious Campaign

Will Ferrell movies are either brilliantly funny or low brow stupid. For every Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory, or A Night at the Roxbury (my guilty pleasure), there is Step Brothers, Semi-Pro, and Anchorman. Jay Roach’s (Dinner for Schmuks) direction helps put The Campaign in the first category.

Ferrell plays Cam Brady, an unopposed career Congressman in the vein of Bill Clinton. His world is upended when the Motch brother (Dan Akroyd and John Lithgow) bring in an eccentric local named Marty Huggins (played beautifully by Zach Galifianakis).  The begin throwing out the word “communist” and bashing the opponent’s family values. Marty Huggins looses himself to the prepping and changes made by his campaign manager (gorgeous Dylan McDermott), and Cam Brady tries to find himself.

The movie takes actual campaign strategies and pulls them to the extreme. In fact, you have to laugh at the truthfulness or you might cry. And this is the secret to this film, the reality in it. In fact, the viewer has no idea who they should root for. Which of the two is the lesser devil? The ending was a surprise as the writers add depth to the characters and hope for the future of politics. It’s this critical thinking that gives this comedy its true depth. There is some stupid, silly humor, but I must admit every time Marty Huggins couldn’t open I door, I laughed till I almost cried.

Ferrell and Galifianakis working together are beautiful. They both become their characters changing speech patterns and walks, and really give depth to flat political stereotypes. The movie is at its highest point when the two start trash talking together, with Marty Huggins sounding like a second grader. I’m not sure how these two made it through a scene together with out bursting into laughter every time. Even McDermott’s straight man is hilarious as he yells at his protégé or deadpans that they are out of Honeynut Cheerios. It was also great to see more range in Jason Sudeikis as Cam Brady’s campaign manager.

The Campaign wins you over with its comedy and heart. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon this election season.