The Campaign

A review - by Shlomoh Sherman
September 6, 2012

The Campaign(2012)
Director: Jay Roach
Writers: Chris Henchy (screenplay), Shawn Harwell (screenplay)
Stars: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis and Jason Sudeikis
Plot: In order to gain influence over their North Carolina district, two CEOs seize an opportunity to oust long-term congressman Cam Brady by putting up a rival candidate, naive Marty Huggins, director of the local Tourism Center.
Genre: Comedy
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
Rated R for crude sexual content, language and brief nudity
Release Date: August 10, 2012 (USA)
Filming Locations: Courthouse Square, Backlot, Universal Studios - 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California, USA
Company Credits: Production Co: Everyman Pictures, Gary Sanchez Productions
Run Time: 85 minutes
Quotes: Marty Huggins: Bring your brooms cause it's a mess.
Country: USA
Language: English
Trivia: This film is set in the state of North Carolina. Cast member Zach Galifianakis actually was born in North Carolina.
Factual errors: At the very beginning of the movie, an on-screen quote is attributed to H. Ross Perot ("War has rules. Mud wrestling has rules. Politics has no rules"), and refers to him as a 1988 Presidential candidate. Perot ran for President twice: first in 1992 and again in 1996, the year he made the comment used in the film. He did not run in 1988.
Soundtracks: "99 Revolutions" - Written by Billie Joe Armstrong/Green Day - Performed by Green Day
See the thread: Is Will Ferrel basing his character on Mit Romney? -

On the day before Labor Day [9-2-12], I talked my friends Judy and Dietz into going to see THE CAMPAIGN with me. Judy protested somewhat, saying she had read that the reviews gave this movie a B. In addition, my friend Mike Altman is of the opinion that Will Ferrell films are too much over the top and their heavy handedness detracts from the laughs he is trying to elicit.

The truth is that all three of us found the movie very entertaining and VERY funny. So it turns out that THE CAMPAIGN is a funnier and better movie than we anticipated it to be.

The impressive cast includes John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd and Dylan McDermott [who I remember and admire from the TV series THE PRACTICE], and the casting could not have been better. Of course the stars, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, carry the film's biting humor. By the way, Galifianakis caused quite a stir in Hollywood a few years ago when he was cast in a film but dropped out because another actor in the film was Mel Gibson. Galifianakis, not Jewish, said he had no desire to work with an antisemite and woman abuser.

Whether or not Ferrell is basing his character of the North Carolina congressman on Mit Romney, the movie clearly is spoofing this year's ongoing presidential campaign. I've been a fan of Ferrell's for a long time since I first saw him on Saturday Night Live, and my opinion is that this movie is his funniest work to date.

The movie has all the negative aspects and scadalous activities that we have come to associate with politicians in this unhappy century but they are so built up to the realm of the ludicrous that we cannot help but laugh at the humor and SMILE at the recognition of how foolish and reckless the behavior of certain public officials have been in the past few years.

Ferrell as the long time incumbant congressman, Cam Brady, is so sure that he can run for office over and over again and win unopposed that he becomes drunk with both power and alcohol and places a dirty sex call to one of his mistresses. Unfortunately he miss-dials and the call winds up on the answering machine of a very Christian family who is having dinner. The parents are outraged and nervously tell their pre-teen children that this is not the voice of Jesus.

Speaking of Jesus, scenes of crowds outside the TV studios where both Brady and his opponent, the nerdy Marty Huggins, are having their first public debate, show Brady's loyal followers carrying signs reading, JESUS WANTS YOU TO VOTE FOR BRADY.

There is also an outrageous scene in what appears to be a Pentecostal or other evangelical church where Brady, along with other congregants, are holding snakes in their hands and yelling Halleluya. When one of the snakes that Brady is carrying bites him in the bicep and causes his arm to swell up to Popeye proportions, he is booed by the worhippers as an agent of Satan.

There are also innumerable comic sex scenes in which both candidates find themselves compromised, causing their popularity numbers to rise and fall like sine waves.

There is so much in this movie that will bring out belly laughs from an audience that I can't address all of it. Although the movie is filmed with so much nastiness on the part of each candidate that echoes the real life of political campaigns, the film has a sweet resolution which makes us ultimately forgive and love both of these election opponents. In this, the writers were very smart. We leave the theater with no sour aftertaste which viscious campaigns often make us feel.

Want a real family value fun time - with some [a lot] profanity and funny sexual scenes and political hijinks to make this election season a bit more bearable? Definitely see THE CANDIDATE.

Euclid, OH
June 22, 2012


Cast overview, first billed only:
         Will Ferrell       ... Cam Brady
         Zach Galifianakis       ... Marty Huggins
         Jason Sudeikis       ... Mitch
         Dylan McDermott       ... Tim Wattley
         Katherine LaNasa       ... Rose Brady
         Sarah Baker             ... Mitzi Huggins
         John Lithgow       ... Glenn Motch
         Dan Aykroyd             ... Wade Motch
         Brian Cox             ... Raymond Huggins
         Karen Maruyama       ... Mrs. Yao
         Grant Goodman       ... Clay Huggins
         Kya Haywood             ... Dylan Huggins
         Randall D. Cunningham ... Cam Jr. (as Randall Cunningham)
         Madison Wolfe       ... Jessica Brady
         Thomas Middleditch       ... Travis


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