Just in time for Election Day (or close enough), comes the new comedy from Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis that gets to the very heart of what makes American politics such a mess, “The Campaign”. It’s the comedy that puts the pain in campaign. (Just go with it.) Directed by Jay Roach (the man who gave us the “Meet the Parents” and “Austin Powers” franchises), “The Campaign” now arrives on DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack courtesy of Warner Home Video.
When long-term congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) commits a major public gaffe before an upcoming election, a pair of ultra-wealthy CEOs plot to put up a rival candidate and gain influence over their North Carolina district. Their man: naive Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), director of the local Tourism Center. At first, Marty appears to be the unlikeliest possible choice but, with the help of his new benefactors’ support, he soon becomes a real contender. As election day closes in, the two are locked in a dead heat, with insults quickly escalating to injury until all they care about is burying each other in this mud-slinging, back-stabbing, home-wrecking comedy from Meet the Parents director Jay Roach.
It’s hard not to like “The Campaign” if you’re a fan of either Will Ferrell or Zach Galifianakis, and damn near impossible if you happen to be a fan of both men. “The Campaign” looks and feels like a film that was put together when someone got the bright idea to team up Ferrell and Galifianakis in the same movie. Really, it’s that specifically tailored for their, if you will, skill sets. And to their credit, both stars bring their A-game to the party.
If you were hoping Will Ferrell would embrace his SNL/Dubya roots just one more time, well “The Campaign” is the film for you. Ferrell is perfectly at home as the film’s muppet of a political pro Cam Brady, who finds himself challenged for the first time in a long time by Zach Galifianakis’ Marty Huggins, a goodhearted simpleton who is out of his depth, but thanks to some shady types trying to knock Brady down a peg or two, finds himself becoming a real challenger. Hilarity, as they say, ensue, with both men launching a mudslinging campaign that quickly escalates into absurdity. The film’s best comedy bits has to be its negative campaign ads, with Ferrell and Galifianakis clearing having good fun as the combatants.
The film gets strong supporting turns from Ferrell’s fellow former SNL’er Jason Sudeikis and Dylan McDermott as campaign managers, while the wives and children of the candidates are up to the task of dropping laugh-out loud moments throughout the flick. Chris Henchy and Shawn Harwell’s script is pretty funny throughout, but you would really have to be a fan of both Ferrell’s Dubya impersonation and Galifianakis’, well, Galifianakis-ness. I can’t stress that enough — this is a film that embraces everything that is Ferrell and Galifianakis. Consider yourselves properly warned.
The Blu-Ray Combo Pack arrives with the film on standard DVD, Blu-ray, and Ultraviolet option, and features the movie in its theatrical version and an extended cut that is about 10 minutes longer, give or take. There’s nothing too Earth-shattering in the Extended Cut and most of the jokes are pretty much already in the shorter theatrical version. Extras on the Blu-ray include a handful of deleted scenes (about 15 minutes total), and an amusing 4-minute “Line-O-Rama”, which features the film’s two stars adblibbing lines from the film. And finally, a gag reel, because what comedy would be complete without a gag reel?
Those who take their politics less than seriously and who only vote during the Presidential Elections (that is, once every four years, if that) will probably be “The Campaign’s” main target audience. You politicos will find most of its parodies a little too over-the-top, though frankly if you’ve been watching the news lately, it might be a lot closer to the truth than you would think. Baby punching and implied nudity notwithstanding, I mean.