The Campaign is here, and amidst the everyday political satire that Indians are living through, they can finally get more of their "Americans are dumb, lets guffaw at them" fix.
Is it funny? Yes. If people slipping on banana peels sets you off into peals of laughter.
Is it the hard-hitting lampoon on the mare di merda of elections we've all been waiting for? Hell, no.
A four-time Congressman, who's been elected every year by default, is running again, without an opponent. Easy peasy right? Apparently not so much for Cam Brady (Will Ferrell), who's amoral, immature, interested in little else but the fool-proof booty call that is his celeb status (and the booty it gets him), and, sadly for him, the maker of the biggest poo-poo in the history of all poo-poos.
A drunk call to who he thought was his "mistress" Shana, describing in great detail all the depraved acts he'd like to commit on her pert person, goes instead to a devout Christian family in the middle of their dinner, resulting in a steep fall in Brady's popularity.
Enter the Motch brothers (John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd), who've been looking for a Congressman who'll let them build Chinese factories with Chinese people working in them, so they can get even richer than their already filthy wealthiness. In the awkward, effete, and wholesome-as-apple-pie Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), they find the perfect candidate - one they can mold, get elected, and whose strings they can play around with.
So they send Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermott) to Marty Higgins as his campaign manager, to make him "not suck". Soon, though, Huggins, and those who know him, find that he has undiscovered depths, as Brady and he butt heads and filthy mouths with mostly funny but sometimes lame consequences. (Ferrell punching a baby in slo-mo, really? Ok fine. Yeah, it was funny. And THEN comes Ferrell punching the dog from The Artist. Lame, lame, LAME!)
So what could possibly go wrong with a movie with such a promising premise and a cast that can't suck even if it tried? The dheela as a blunt screw script, that's what. Ferrell and Galifianakis draw sniggers and snorts mostly on auto-pilot, and almost completely unaided by the script. The plot falls flat on its face the moment the screenplay moves away from the slapstick towards seriousness.
The stellar supporting cast - including John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, Sarah Baker , Jason Sudeikis, and Brian Cox - are sorely underutilized, and make their presence felt in spite of it. One character who really stood out was that of Mrs. Yao (played by Karen Maruyama), the Huggins' Asian housekeeper who puts on the accent of a cheerful old Mammy archetype for an extra fifty bucks, as it reminds Sr. Huggins of the good ol' days.
Although the soundtrack by Theodore Shapiro isn't much to write home about; the sets, the cinematography, and the visuals in all are appealing. You will also notice an attention to detail that you'd expect in a comedy that's above the average.
Jay Roach got a lot of things right with The Campaign. Now, if only he'd worked a bit harder at getting them all together...