Friday, 28 September 2012

Review: The Campaign

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

The Campaign movie poster

The Campaign
85 mins / Dir. Jay Roach

Clocking in at just under the staple hour-and-a-half, this is a comedy directed by Jay Roach (Austin Powers / Meet The Parents), starring WIll Ferrell (Anchorman / The Other Guys) and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover / Due Date). You already know if you're going to like this or not…

The Good: The Campaign is a funny film. That said, with the names involved, there'd have to be something seriously wrong for it not to be. It's going to be too generic for some, and too samey for others, but if you want an easy-going, consistently chucklesome movie to enjoy with friends and beer, this is for you. There'll be nothing to quote afterwards, and no key-points to reminisce over (other than a man punching a baby), but it ticks all the boxes on its list pretty much perfectly.

All the key players know what they're here to do, and they've done it often enough to have it down to pat, now. That said, it was interesting to see Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow as the villainous Motch brothers, two scheming bickering businessmen in almost exactly the same mould as Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche's Duke brothers in Trading Places. I'm going to assume that Aykroyd's casting was a deliberate choice, and the part is an homage, rather than a rip-off.

The Bad: It's not exactly biting satire, to be honest, but then were we expecting it to be? The timing of the release of the film gives it a little extra relevance, but it'd work on the same level had there not been a US presidential election round the corner. There are obvious jabs at the current state of US politics (and politicians in general), and a series of farcical set-pieces, but there's very little edge to any of it, even with the 15-grabbing f*words. The biggest part of the problem seems to be that no matter how zany and exaggerated they make it all, I only have to watch the news to see actual world politics that isn't too far behind. Maybe this is heightened by being in the UK, where it's easier to stand back and laugh at the whole circus? (because UK politics is nowhere near as ridiculous. Oh.)

The Ugly: As likeable as it is, the comedic stokes are so broad you could use them to paint a barn in under half an hour. It's a formulaic, button-pushing, autotuned gag-reel that simultaneously represents the best and worst of its genre.

Worth £8+? No. It'll be on DVD for a fiver within six months. Unless you're caught up in election fever or a Will/Zach completist, you can wait until then.


'The Campaign' is consistently funny, yet has no outstanding features whatsoever. Like the politics it claims to be satirising, it's all posturing soundbites with minimal sincerity. Maybe this is the real joke?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

No comments:

Post a Comment