Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Campaign

When the long serving congressman (Will Ferrell) of a quaint North Carolina district becomes entangled in a bizarre local scandal, two Koch-like brothers (John Lithgow, Dan Akyroyd) seek to run a puppet candidate in the once unopposed upcoming election who will then bring sweatshops stocked with Chienese laborers in a new form of "insourcing." Their man: an ineffectual, inept head of the local tourism board (Zach Galifianakis) who, after a makeover from a merciless campaign manager (Dylan McDermott), gives the incumbent a what for in a campaign that becomes an all-out, mud slinging, dog-eat-dog affair. "The Campaign" is a lazy and forced film from director Jay Roach, who hardly found success crafting the TV movies "Recount" and "Game Change", and finds even less in this comic rendition set again in political arena. The final product seems rushed, the sentiment is unearned, the satirical barbs aren't particularly sharp, and most importantly, the film just isn't all that funny as it again resorts to that expected brand of infantile humor. I've long defended Ferrell when people have criticized his worn act, but as of late and especially here he delivers the same tired routine an I can feel myself boarding that train that many hopped long ago. I did fine Jason Sudeikis particularly strong as Ferrell's campaign manager and the biggest surprise here is Galifianakis who transcends the material and actually delivers a poignant performance. Election years are tiresome enough as it is and it becomes all the more disconcerting when Hollywood bombards you with their hurried, opinionated and, in this instance, unfunny political satires.