Movie Review: “The Campaign”- A Candidate for a Funny Movie

Written by Ethan Butler August 13, 2012

Finding a good political comedy is sometimes a tough search. For every film like “Election” there is at least two, maybe even three, “Swing Vote’s” (and this is coming from someone who enjoyed “Swing Vote”). The problem is that most of the political comedies that have been released in the past were just not as funny as real life politics. Director Jay Roach’s “The Campaign” starring the amazing Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis comes somewhere in between great and subpar. First off, I did enjoy this film, it made me laugh more often than not, but overall the film did not fully live up to its stellar talent.

This not to say that this is a bad movie, actually it is the opposite; it is a good movie but just not as good as it could have been. The film does showcase a rather entertaining satire of the American political system, and this shines throughout the film. Yet, I left the theatre feeling like the comedy (especially with two of my favourite comedy actors) could have been better. The film is about a rather heated campaign (hence the title) to become a United States congressman, between the ignorant incumbent Cam Brady (Ferrell) and the nincompoop challenger Marty Huggins (Galifianakis). That’s all I’ll say about the plot so you, the readers, can go in knowing nothing, ready for un-heard jokes (unless you watched the trailer posted along with this review, Bazinga!).

Tickle of the ol’ funny bone

My favourite comedy of all time is “Anchorman”, so going in I expected to share a few laughs with the friends of mine who joined me in seeing the film. As expected we were given plenty to chuckle at, yet a majority of the jokes in the film did just that, only make me chuckle, not because they were not funny, but because a solid amount of the best jokes were shown in the trailer. They were still rather humorous, such as the debate, both family dinners, yet I had just heard them so many times from seeing the trailer that they had lost some of the funny. Yet thankfully, one of the funniest bits of the movie was largely toned down in the trailer- Dylan McDermott!

AKA Dylan McDermott

In “The Campaign”, this man, to me best known from his recent stint on “American Horror Story”, is the very definition of ‘scene stealer’. The stone cold, and always somewhat mysteriousness to his performance gave the film some of its finest moments. His interactions with the over-the-top lead characters are comedy gold, and I thank him for them.


This film in my opinion (and most likely everyone else who has knowledge of the film) was not shy about being a satire on the famously troubled American political system. It does this mostly well but still turning to more crude broad humour (little complaint from me here though) than sharp writing in the interest of reaching as many people as possible. This was done deliberately by the filmmakers, so it really comes down to one’s own individual taste.

Punching Babies, and other fun stuff

The film is an enjoyable comedic romp that in the end does have something to say. The image above is a reason alone to recommend the film, and if your looking for a laugh you will certainly find more than one here. It may not be the biting satire people were looking for, or the best from the lead actors, but it is still a generally funny film.

My Rating: 7.5/10



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