Movie review: The Campaign

From the August 9, 2012 edition

With two of the biggest names in comedy — Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis — pairing up for “The Campaign,” expectations for rip-roaring hilarity are pretty high.

While “The Campaign” is a consistently funny film with some really great comedic moments, moviegoers should temper their excitement a bit.

The political shenanigans in short: Longtime Congressman Cam Brady (Ferrell) — who’s used to running unopposed — is challenged by nobody Marty Huggins (Galifianakis) in a ridiculous battle for the hearts and minds of North Carolina voters.

Ferrell and Galifianakis get good mileage out of what they do best. Ferrell plays Cam as a combination of Bill Clinton and Ricky Bobby — his campaign slogan is “America. Jesus. Freedom.” — and Marty is reminiscent, wardrobe and all, of Galifianakis’ fictional twin brother, Seth. Not familiar with Seth Galifianakis? YouTube it — you’re welcome.

The odd thing is that many of the best laughs come in unexpected places. Ferrell and Galifianakis work better separately, namely with their campaign managers, Jason Sudeikis and a surprisingly awesome Dylan McDermott.

Director Jay Roach found a good balance between letting Ferrell and Galifianakis just riff and sticking to a quality script from “Eastbound & Down” alumni Chris Henchy and Shawn Harwell. “The Campaign” is a funny, worthwhile R-rated experience; just don’t expect it to be the funniest movie of the year.