Published Thursday, 27 September 2012
Goofing his way to the top is a Californian comic, who's been an Christmas elf, a TV anchorman and now in his latest movie, a smarmy Senator in the rip roaring new comedy The Campaign.
So, when it comes to laughs, who wouldn't vote for Will Ferrell.
"My heart is pounding" says sleazy Senator Cam Brady, played by Will Ferrell, "Like a phone book in a dryer". Brady is the incumbent Democratic Congressman for the 14th District of North Carolina, looking to stand unopposed again for a fifth time in office. He's cocky, smug, and frisky with every young female supporter. Then comes 'Phone Gate', when Brady mistakenly leaves an obscene message not for his mistress but for a wholesome Christian family. This is a public gaffe too far.
Time to sweep away the sleaze. "Bring your brooms" declares political opponent Marty Huggins "cause it's a mess". Huggins, played by Zach Galifianakis, a ditzy tour guide and devoted family man, who is plucked out of obscurity to run for office. His campaign is the twisted master plan of the Motch brothers, (played by Dan Ackroyd and John Lithgow) heinous billionaires, who are determined to sell the beloved 14th District, wall to wall to China. "There's something you should know about American politics" Glenn Motch tells his Chinese partners "if you have the money, nothing is unpredictable."
So, let the mud slinging begin as our comic candidates hit the hustings on the campaign trail. Ferrell and Galifiankis make a great duelling double act, each one trying out outwit the other with gross insults and absurd schemes while flip flopping in the polls.
Senator Brady's campaign is particularly colourful and takes a disastrous nosedive, when he inexplicably punches a baby while attempting to slug his opponent. 'Baby Punch Gate' is soon making headlines across the country with real American news commentators including Piers Morgan, seen taking a sharp intake of breath. Hilariously, a further four legged howler follows when Brady accidentally knockouts a dog and no ordinary pooch, only poor Uggie, the Jack Russell star of The Artist!
If anyone has their finger on the funny bone, it's Campaign director Jay Roach who previously cracked us up with Austin Powers, Borat and Meet The Parents. Roach also has an acute political eye having won Emmys for television dramas, Recount, about the controversial 2000 Presidential election and earlier this year Game Change about the John McCain /Sarah Palin campaign of 2008. Hence, this film has an insightful blend of political satire and pure silliness, with it's aim firmly pointed at the influence of corrupt big businesses in American elections.
Farrell excels with his foul mouthed screw ball politician. "I'm a thoroughbred" boasts Senator Brady "I'm going to smoke that clown." Wisecrack after wisecrack is delivered with that skilled quick fire timing of his much loved character Ron Burgundy. This may be no surprise as he is currently re-heating the hot seat of San Diego's favourite newscaster for Anchorman 2, due to be released next year.
Unfortunately, like many political campaigns this movie does run out of steam before the end. But at a tight 85 minutes, there is little drag and plenty of big gags.
The Campaign (Cert 15) is now on general release.