After an embarrassing scandal, North Carolina district congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) has become less popular with the public, let alone big CEOs interested in the district. In order to land a major “in-sourcing” deal, said CEOs turn to a new candidate to bring in the votes. In a bout of desperation, they turn to Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), the black sheep son of one of their oldest associates.
The Campaign is basically what would happen if Man of the Year didn’t suck (or lie to us for that matter). However, I have noticed a basic pattern with Will Ferrell characters, no matter what the movie – we get a hotshot who does something ridiculous, allowing him to leave the spotlight for some time, and then he returns a much better person (for the most part). It’s a simplified and overused version of the basic initiation-seperation-return plot, as evident it movies such as Talladega Nights, Anchorman, and Blades of Glory to name a few (granted Anchorman was quite the exception – though a parody it used the formula none-the-less).
I’m not sure if it’s just that if Ferrell doesn’t have a character that uses this pattern he will got to some sort of static character limbo, but really I feel as if Cam needed a little more umph. Maybe I’m not giving Ferrell enough credit – after all, he was in the whole political-thing for so long, that just became who he is, and we do get some glimpses of life before campaign-hood, which was probably my favorite part of his character.
Now Marty, on the other hand, I loved this character. I don’t know if it’s because I have a thing for Zach Galifianakis and pugs or what, but I totally fell for the empathy this guy was presented with. Marty is a man who learns that he is way out of his league, and with the help of his manager Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermott) he becomes a new man, for better or for worse.
On that note, though it was a blast watching a pair of comedy giants duke it out, what won this movie over for me was the side characters. Other than McDermott, I also really dug John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd as the fore-mentioned CEOs, as well as Brian Cox as Marty’s father, Raymond. I honestly think this movie is worth checking out for these actors alone, which also includes a hilarious performance by Karen Maruyama.
Overall, this movie’s worth checking out – sure the antics sometimes get a little old, but like I said, it’s worth checking out for the characters – including a cameo from Uggie of The Artist. Or just stay for the pugs, Muffins and Poundcake, who I personally hope to see again.
Final Grade: B+