Friday, September 21, 2012

The Campaign (Rhoades)

“The Campaign”
Elects to be Funny

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

As we focus on the presidential election – Obama versus Romney – let us not forget about other campaigns for office. For example, those two North Carolina politicians vying for a seat in the United States House of Representatives.
Yes, I am speaking of the political rivalry between Camden “Cam” Brady and Martin “Marty” Huggins. Moviegoers may know them as Will Farrell and Zach Galifianakis, stars of the new comedy called “The Campaign.”
This dog fight (that was the film’s working title) is the typical funfest you’d expect from either Farrell (“Step Brothers,” “Anchorman”) or Galifianakis (“The Hangover,” “Due Date”), half silliness and half slapstick. By slapstick I’m referring to that scene were Cam Brady loses his cool and takes a swing at Marty, only to slug – rather than kiss – a baby. He goes on to complain that no one cares about his sore hand from connecting to that baby’s iron jaw.
The backup cast is strong, perhaps to make up for a weak plot. You’ll encounter Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, and Piers Morgan (as himself).
In order to unseat longtime Congressman Cam Brady, a pair of Tarheel businessmen named the Motch brothers (Aykroyd and Lithgow) put up a rival candidate, simpleton Marty Huggins, the director of a local tourism center.
Full disclosure: I once published a North Carolina travel magazine, distributed through the state’s Welcome Centers, Chambers of Commerce, and tourism outlets. So I know this world fairly well. Oh, you don’t think so? I even went to high school with Zach Galifianakis’s mother. We swapped emails just this week.
Silly, yes. But that’s not my complaint. It’s that they filmed this tale of North Carolina politics in New Orleans. You don’t have to publish a travel magazine to know the difference in locales.
In “The Campaign,” Zach does his brilliant man-child schtick. And Farrell does his dumb politician impression.
Fans debate which politician Farrell was imitating. One bloggers writes, “Rick Perry is the first thing that comes to mind. Is that just a coincidence or has Will Ferrell been watching Rick Perry campaign videos?”
Another responds, “Ferrell has had good practice at playing GWB, I imagine it would translate very well to playing a Perry parody. Perry is basically Bush, but even dumber.”
Others took umbrage with that remark. “George W. Bush graduated from Yale and Harvard. Rick Perry flew C-130s for the USAF. Will Ferrell has a bachelor's degree in something called Sports Information, was a failure as a hotel valet and a bank teller, and now reads lines that someone else wrote for him in ‘comedies’ that aren’t funny.”
“Not funny? I haven’t laughed that hard in a while,” argues someone else.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he threw some ‘pretty boy’ a la John Edwards in there as well,” speculates a moviegoer who knows his North Carolina politicians.
“Weiner jokes, fart jokes, and punching babys (sic) are not really all that funny...”
Overall, the film is hilarious,” says another.
Go see the movie before you cast your vote. The “polls” are open at the Tropic Cinema.

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