The Campaign Directed by: Jay Roach Starring: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis Rating: Not Yet Rated Release Date: August 10, 2012
TRAILER SCORE: 8/10
Thoughts by TSR: I’ve never been a huge fan of Jay Roach, but it’s been interesting to see him become HBO’s guy for their recent political films (“Recount” and “Game Change”). I like that he’s jumping from those to a comedic attempt at something in the same arena. Yes, The Campaign is actually a comedy, but it’s not really that much more absurd than the events depicted in “Game Change.” With this cast, I have faith that Roach can do something very funny.
It doesn’t all work – Ferrell getting both bitten by a snake and shot with a crossbow feels like overkill – but most of it does. Galifianakis’s son admitting what happened at the petting zoo, the candidates shaking hands prior to the debate and Will Ferrell punching a baby (it has an iron jaw, so it’s OK!) all made me laugh. I could see some not liking the baby punch, but what really sells it for me is the way Jason Sudeikis says “He just punched a baby” afterward. While Ferrell looks to be playing an amalgam of all his best known characters, Galifianakis is doing something similar to Seth Galifianakis – some may find it grating, but I welcome it with open arms.
The opening moments show Will Ferrell’s Cam Brady changing what he says to suit his audience. That’s scarily realistic to real life politics (not that it makes the escalation of the sequence any less funny), and I hope the film strives to mix in real life political absurdity with the more ridiculous baby punching.