Sunday, 4 November 2012

Film Review: The Campaign

About the film
The Campaign is a comedy film which was released at the cinema on 28th September. It has a run time of 85 minutes and is rated 15 due to sexual content, language and brief nudity.

Cam Brady has been congressman of a North Carolina district for the past few years running. When he makes a big mistake with a phone call, two hot shot CEOs decide that his time is up. No one ever runs against Brady but this year, he has some competition. Marty Huggins is the director of the local tourism center in his little hometown and is a bit of a let-down to his father. He doesn’t have any idea about politics and is more a family man but with the backing of the Motch brothers and a mean campaign manager, it seems as though Marty actually has a chance of winning.

What I thought
As soon as I saw the trailer for this film, I thought it look hilarious. For some reason though, I picked to see other films over this at the cinema and it took me until its last week to get around to seeing it.

The laughs begin really early on in this film which was quite surprising to see. Normally with a film like this the story is set first and then gradually builds into the comedy. By showing the kinds of things Cam Brady does as congressman, the film begins by being really funny. It also manages to show why Cam is no longer (probably) the best person to be congressman for this district as he has an affair with a supporter and then leaves an especially crude message on someone else’s answering machine. By doing this, it also paves the way for the other main character Marty Huggins. It made me think that whoever was going to oppose Cam had to be better than him… because it wouldn’t have been hard.

Will Ferrell plays Cam Brady and I think this is one of his best roles to date. While Ferrell can sometimes be over the top and needlessly silly, it works in this film and his character wouldn’t have been the same otherwise. Still though, Ferrell manages to put in some emotion to his performance which you don’t get to see very much from him. As a character, Cam Brady is rude, selfish and pretty mean when he doesn’t get what he wants. I loved watching the stupid things Cam did throughout the film and how desperate he got when he realised there was a chance he could lose.

Zach Galifianakis plays Marty Huggins, Cam’s opponent. As soon as he makes an appearance in the film, it is clear to see that he is quite special. He runs a tourism center, has two pet pugs with ridiculous names and has a super strange family. He’s a sensitive Southerner who just wants his home town to be the best it can be so when he is approached to run against Cam, he jumps at the chance to better himself, his life and his town. However, Marty doesn’t really understand the world of politics and has a hard time running against Cam to begin with as he plays dirty. When manager Tim comes onto the scene though and completely reinvents Marty, he becomes a different person – actually believing that he could win. Galifianakis is wonderful as Marty and slightly better than Ferrell in my opinion. He manages to be funny and sweet without really giving up any of his beliefs. Although his manager does overrule him sometimes and makes him do things he doesn’t really want to, Marty still tries to be himself.

With some comedy films, the trailer tends to give away all of the funniest moments. That is not the case with The Campaign. Although the bits shown were pretty funny, there are better moments that you won’t be expecting. My flatmate and I were sat laughing so hard the whole way though this film and I couldn’t believe how funny it was. Sometimes with comedy films like this they try too hard and end up not being funny at all but this one was great from start to finish. There are plenty of moments where either Cam or Marty are trying to get one up on the other which doesn’t work out how the planned and there is where it made me laugh so much.

As the American elections are happening about now, The Campaign takes away some of the seriousness surrounding this issue. The politics in the film are probably (most definitely) not even anywhere close to how things are done but who cares, it’s funny. I don’t care that it isn’t realistic. Films are supposed to be an escape from reality and that’s exactly what this film is. The secondary characters like campaign managers, other congressmen and the supporters really help to make this film what it is though as they provide many interesting moments and they help to set up most of the gags.

I really loved The Campaign and will definitely be buying it when it gets released on DVD.

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