The Campaign

I’d like to emphasise the fact that I enjoy a genuinely funny movie as much as the next man. I’ve enjoyed a stack of Will Ferrell’s previous movies (highlights include Talladega Nights and Anchorman, obviously) and I can still get behind the first Hangover movie, despite the typhoon of criticism that the series has had to weather. The Campaign is not a good movie and it’s not a funny movie and, consequently, I didn’t like it. If a movie takes until its last ten minutes (and they’re, generally, not a good ten minutes) to make you audibly guffaw then there’s definitely a problem.

The film follows Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as opposing ‘politicians’, representing the Democrats and Republicans respectively, in a congressional election. Ferrell is the amoral philanderer and Galifianakis is the possibly mentally challenged hick. If that sounds like a pretty broad joke then buckle in, because it goes on for two hours. Galifianakis seems particularly uncomfortable in a role that doesn’t quite suit his style of comedy (which can be very effective) as he potters around as a very, very camp knitwear mule. Ferrell is more at home in his role which is Ron Burgundy/Ricky Bobby/Mugatu rolled into one.

There’s some sort of comic chemistry between the characters but it’s hard to derive much pleasure from watching them bounce off one another in sketch after sketch that feels like it ought to have been left on the SNL cutting room floor. If you’ve always wanted to see a grown man punch a baby in slo-mo, or conduct a town-tour with a randy pensioner then, maybe, there’s something for you here. But worse than simply being forgettable (I could forgive that), The Campaign is actively poor. With such a wealth of potential material and such a talented cast (Brian Cox, John Lithgow, Dan Ackroyd and Jason Sudeikis all have supporting roles) this has to go down as a big, ol’ fashioned fail.

Unfunny and about as incisive as a toddler’s Filofax, The Campaign will leave you bored and disappointed. Just like real life politics, then.

Title: The Campaign
Director: Jay Roach
Starring: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Brian Cox, John Lithgow, Dan Ackroyd, Jason Sudeikis
Running Time: Maybe forever, maybe slightly less.
Certificate: 15

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