The Campaign fails to entertain, disappoints

THE MOTCH BROTHERS PAUSE to consider their dastardly plans surrounding the sale of the 14th district to China. They attempt to use their filthy riches to influence the gubernatorial election in their favor.

David’s Take

The Campaign. It features Will Ferrell, a truly legendary funny-man, and Zach Galafanakis, who is renowned for being one of the most creepy/awkward people to have ever lived, ever. Individually, their excellence in their related but separate fields in indisputable, but together, in this movie, they are lacking.

The Campaign was not a good movie. In all fairness, I did not expect it to be one. I mean I’ve seen Step Brothers, Taladega Nights, and Blades of Glory, and none of them were good per se. They were funny as all hell. They did have a certain comedic quality that, while not making them good pieces of cinema, did make them worth seeing. I have seen many, many ‘B’ movies, a couple ‘C’s, and on one occasion I made the mistake of watching an ‘F.’ This is different. The Campaign was just bad.

It lacked polish in every way. The movie felt very much like bad improv that no one had the strength of will to stop. At several points during the movie, I had to turn to the person next to me to make sure I was still there and not in some foul hell where comedy and my love for it had been perverted. The dialogue was flat. Some of the comedic portions were funny, and some were like bad Onion articles, where things were just taken too far out of line and weren’t any good anymore. The physical comedy, where it wasn’t obviously CGI was mediocre.

I firmly believe that I am lessened by the time I spent in that theatre. I don’t know how. Maybe it was some form of voodoo, or witchcraft, perhaps a coven or some dark wizards (what is the plural pronouns for them anyway?) manipulated the movie to suck life essence from the audience. All I know is that it was bad.

Maybe this speculation is ennobling it somewhat. I can’t say for sure. It wasn’t so bad that I can say the writers and directors should be punished for their crimes. It wasn’t much of anything besides bad, and mediocre where it even fell short of bad.

Normally, I always have a recommendation that someone go to see the movies I see, but for the first time, just don’t. No one see this. My time is almost worthless, and this film isn’t even worth that. Don’t rent it, don’t buy it, and God help me, please don’t go and see it. This kind of content should not be rewarded with even a decent box office gross. My message this time is simply, “vote with your money on this content, and vote no.”

Kirk’s Take

I’ll just start this off by saying that The Campaign is a Will Ferrell movie, which also starred Zach Galifianakis. As such, I didn’t really expect it to be a great movie; most movies with Ferrell are rather hit-or-miss and involve crude, and often vulgar, humor. And to be honest, that’s pretty much how it turned out.

At the beginning of the movie, Congressional incumbent Cam Brady, played by Ferrell, runs for his fifth term as a representative of the 14th district of North Carolina. Brady is portrayed as a very right-wing Democrat, whose motto is “America, Jesus, and Freedom.”

Although he was originally going to run unopposed, Brady is faced with Galifianakis’ character, Marty Huggins. Huggins is funded by Glen and Wade Motch—played by John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd, respectively—two ultra-rich brothers who hope to conduct amoral business with several Chinese businesses. The Motch brothers are unhappy with the lack of action from Brady, who has proven to be an insignificant representative, having voted on very little in his four terms.

Brady starts out as a very confident candidate, but he lacks discipline and ethics; he basically does whatever he wants. Huggins, on the other hand, begins as a meek individual who is viewed as incredibly odd by the general populus. As the film progresses, though, Brady falls out of favor of the public, while Huggins becomes a more prominent figure.

However, just days before the election, Huggins refuses to assist the Motch brothers with their attempts to sell the 14th district to China. The brothers then put their funds behind Brady. On the day of the election, Huggins releases a video explaining what the Motch brothers have been doing and that he wants to be an open and honest official. Following this video, the polls put Huggins several points ahead in the race.

Despite this, Brady wins the election. It is revealed to the audience—though never to the characters in the film—that the Motch brothers provided the voting equipment, thereby rigging the election. However, Brady, who has by this point seen the error of his ways, withdraws and gives his position to Huggins.

While a plot like this could have been done well, it was pretty mediocre in The Campaign. Every single moment in the movie that had any semblance of actual award-worthy quality was ruined by inane bits, most likely meant to be humorous. When Huggins stood up to the Motch brothers, for example, he walked away, but was unable to open the door. This devolved into the men he had just scorned mumbling and talking him through the door-opening process. It was also full of Ferrell-style humor, which can be entertaining at times, but more often than not ruins the mood of the scene or just doesn’t really make any sense.

Granted, there were a few moments that I found truly hysterical. During the first really competitive scene between Brady and Huggins, the two race to kiss a baby—a classic and traditional thing presidents do to show “American values” or something like that. Huggins reaches the child first, so Brady takes a swing at his competitor. At that moment, Huggins turns, sees the fist, and ducks to the side. As a result, Brady slugs an infant in the face. Although I realize this is a horrible thing to find funny, my sides hurt as I laughed and laughed. The same thing happened further along in the movie to a dog, but I didn’t laugh quite so hard.

Overall, the movie wasn’t very good. I walked in expecting a low-quality movie, but expected some laughs and crude jokes. If you need a laugh, you might watching this movie, but I don’t recommend giong to see it in theaters.

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