Rashid Irani's review: The Campaign

The Hangover star Zach Galifianakis

The Campaign
Direction: Jay Roach
Actors: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis
Rating: **

A pre-credits epigraph informs us that unlike other spheres of life, including war and mud-wrestling, in politics there are no rules. The Campaign then launches a frontal assault on the contemporary US political scene.

The topical but dim-witted satire introduces us to a corrupt congressman (Ferrell) seeking a fifth term in office.

The incumbent's re-election chances are derailed after an obscene call made by him to his mistress is intercepted by a God-fearing neighbourhood family. Enter a rival candidate (Galifianakis).

Bankrolled by a pair of billionaire brothers (veteran comics Dan Ackroyd-John Lithgow) the soft-spoken former tour-guide operator transforms into an opponent of real substance.

The Capra-esque climax involving the outcome of the election is a major cop-out. Director Jay Roach, who previously helmed all the three Austin Powers comedies seems to be going through the motions here.

Showing scant regard for veracity or political correctness, the narrative fails to elicit the requisite guffaws. Purportedly funny sequences such as the slow-motion shots of a baby and a dog being punched in the face are actually borderline offensive.

The film is bolstered by a roster of talented supporting actors including Jason Sudeikis and Dylan McDermott as rival campaign managers.

In an inspired casting choice, Zach Galifianakis displays the infectious comic sensibility he brought to Hangover. If only the rest of The Campaign were that spirited.


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