When news broke of the potential collaboration between comedic powerhouses Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, all ears perked up. And once director Jay Roach (Meet the Parents and Austin Powers) hopped on board, we cautiously wondered if The Campaign would do permanent damage to all of our funny bones. The days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, until August 10th finally arrived. The only problem being that 2012's newest comedy doesn't live up to the grand spectacle we all hoped it would be.
The Campaign centers around a four-term North Carolina Congressman named Cam Brady (played by Ferrell) who expects to run unopposed in the upcoming election, even after his adulterous phone sex scandal hits the national media. However, once a pair of greedy tycoon CEO's feel the need for influence in Brady's North Carolina district, they decide to finance an opponent to the incumbent. Their choice is Marty Huggins (played by Galifianakis), the director of a local tourism center.
Jay Roach's The Campaign is a depressingly mediocre political satire that spares no expense. What begins as a clever mockery of the fallible political campaign process, turns into a surprisingly overlong and redundant film. I wish I could tell you that The Campaign is a rebirth for comedian Will Ferrell, yet we're forced to sit through the same old nonsensical banter that helped launch his career into stardom. But after almost ten years of the same routine, it's about time Will Ferrell offers a fresh set of new ideas. Unfortunately, we'll have to keep waiting. And while his counterpart Zach Galifianakis delivers a smaller sense of unseen originality, it's not quite enough to help carry the film. In addition to the mediocre work of its leading stars, The Campaign contains a massively contrived subplot that crosses the line of ridiculousness. Although the feature attempts to have a have a central purpose, any semblance of meaning is completely drowned out by the myriad of irrationality shoved down our throats. All in all, The Campaign is an obvious letdown that never amounts to the greatness that we all envisioned.
Despite the picture's apparent shortcomings, The Campaign still packs a colossal comedic punch. The jokes are plentiful and the absurdity never wavers. You're sure to experience a handful of outrageously funny scenes that you'll remember forever, and die-hard fans of Ferrell and Galifianakis can certainly find solace in much of the film. However, there's nothing groundbreaking in The Campaign and it's important to not expect a revolutionary comedy. With a collection of secondary characters that leave almost no lasting impression, the film is surely no masterpiece. To get the most out of your viewing experience it's in your best interest to temper expectations and accept The Campaign for what it really is, another run of the mill effort from Will Ferrell and company.