Friday, September 7, 2012

The Campaign (2012)

Title: The Campaign (2012)

Director: Jay Roach

Cast: Will Farrell, Zack Galifianakis, Dan Aykroyd, John Lithgow, Dylan McDermott, Brian Cox

Are you a Republican or a Democrat? Do you believe in a form of government that works for its people? Do you hate the savage way in which political parties throw dirt at each other all over the media? These are the questions you gotta keep in mind when watching The Campaign. I live on the island of Puerto Rico, and boy, political parties here tear each other apart in the media, election time in my country is not not that different from what we portrayed in this new Will Ferrell/Zack Galifianakis/Jay Roach comedy ‘The Campaign’. This film is a sincere and savage satire at the way the political game is played and how dirty it can get. It’s the kind of film that politicians don’t want you to watch because it exposes them for what they truly are: showmen looking to sell you an empty spectacle.

Ferrell plays the well oiled politician known as Cam Brady. He’s obviously The Republican candidate who’s the ‘All American Man’ he goes to church, he believes in his country and in supporting this nations troops, he’s a family man with a beautiful wife, and two kids! He also has a mistress on the side, and one night, when he decides to call her up and get kinky with her, he mistakenly ends up calling a Christian’s family’s home and leaves them a particularly nasty sexually charged message on their answering machine. This embarrassing turn of events causes a new candidate to move forward in the political race, his name is ‘Marty Huggins’ played by Zack Galifianakis. Huggins is a leader of the people, a person truly interested in doing something for his town. He tells the people to bring their brooms with him to Washington because, “It’s a mess!” Who will win this battle; the evil , selfish politician or the one who cares for the interests of the people? 

In my opinion, all the greatest comedies succeed because of the cast. Special effects movies, action movies, they can get away with having mediocre actors because there’s the action, and there are the effects to keep you interested. But in a comedy you can’t risk having bad actors. You have to get truly funny people in there or your reason for being is dead. In order to make your audience laugh, you need good comedians. Ghostbusters (1984), The Blues Brothers (1980), Coming to America (1988), Young Frankenstein (1974), all these super comedies worked because the cast is freaking amazing. Of course, great comedy directors where behind them as well, and it’s the combination of these two elements that make a great comedy. I think this was the case with The Campaign, a film made by some truly funny people and a trusted comedy director: Jay Roach.  

Director Jay Roach 

Ferrell, when he’s good he’s good and on this film he is truly on. I mean the guy is dead funny. I always enjoyed Will Ferrell’s take on president George W. Bush, he was so dead on with his Saturday Night Live sketches; it was always truly funny stuff in my book. The Campaign takes all those satirical sketches that Ferrell did on Saturday Night Live and takes them up to a hundred. Zack Galifianakis, I'm so glad he is on this one playing off of Will Ferrell's character, they are perfect for each other because they are both comedians that are very extreme, they'll go the lengths necessary to make us laugh, so this two explosively funny comedians on the screen is a match made in heaven as far as I'm concerned, I hope this film serves to push Galifianakis's career even further. There’s no mercy for politicians on this movie! I loved that about it, because come one, let’s face it, these political campaigns can get vicious and it’s that viciousness that works like magic on this movie. As it is in the real world, these guys really have no mercy for each other. And for those of you who think this film is only for liberals, well, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong because both parties are made fun off, but its primordially the rich republicans who get the heat. In this films eyes, Big Money and the politicians who play their evil game are the true villain. In The Campaign big business only cares about financially backing up a politician that they can easily manipulate. Sadly, same as in the real world, there are always politicians more then willing to play along.  These millionaires with huge businesses are the ones who could turn this world around because they have the money to do it, but instead they choose child slavery as an option. They choose to buy the elections, play dirty, keep slavery going in the world, only now they call it ‘less than minimum wage’. So these are the guys that The Campaign aims its guns at, which is actually perfectly alright by me. I think the film has every right to say that Washington is “a mess!”

Jay Roach is a director who has made many a fine comedy, in my book all three of the Austin Powers movies rocked; these are the kinds of comedies I like to watch over and over again. Meet the Parents (2000) and Meet the Fockers (2004), both hilarious in my book. It’s safe to say that Jay Roach has turned into one of those great comedy directors; it seems like Roach will be a mainstay in Hollywood; his comedies are hugely successful most of the time. Ultimately, what I loved most about the film is how it comments on the fakeness of politics, on how it manipulates the masses to think a certain way. The political game portrayed on this film and the one we see in real life are both one big circus attraction, one big show that tries to attract as many zombies as it can with its bright colorful lights, loud music and it’s confetti. They are simply trying to sell you a product that you will ultimately be disappointed by. Wouldn’t it be great if for once they would try to sell us a politician that wouldn’t disappoint?  One that would be worth a damn? The Campaign is well worth the watch, funny every step of the way and unafraid to sshow things the way they are, it gets a couple of extra points simply for that in my book!

Rating: 4 out of 5 


Dan O. said...

Ferrell and Galifianakis make this material a whole lot funnier, but you can’t help but think that this could have almost been a comedic satire classic, had everybody decided to go down that route. Nice review.

Franco Macabro said...

So you're saying it needed a little more to be a 'classic' right? I guess time will tell, but I dug it. It had a lot of guts with what it was saying, I mean, what about that comment on the electrical vote, you know, I always thought those kind of votes could be altered so easily...I mean, it's digital, anything digital can be altered easily and the film addresses this when it shows that the electrical voting machines belonged to the evil corporations that supported Cam Brady. That was a bold statement right there!

Kev D. said...

I think time is totally going to tell a different story on this one, regardless of what the "critics" said when it came out.

Franco Macabro said...

Hey Kev, I think that movies such as this get a bad rap in the media because they hit on the establishment. Filmmakers who make films like this one take a risk, because immediately, these films will be criticized in a negative way, not because they are bad, but because they are truthful; which by the way is a point the film tries to make. The point of trying to get people, eve politicians to be truthful, sincere, honest.

Same thing happened to 'The Muppets', the film was accused of trying to teach kids to be liberals, as if this was a bad thing.

These are films trying to shine some light on some of the biggest evils in the world so of course the media is going to try and say it sucks, sometimes even before the film is released. The powers that be don't want us to see films like this one. The Campaign probably hurt these powers a lot, it really aims it's guns at the big and powerful.


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