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Review: The Campaign
Release date: 28 September 2012
Director: Jay Roach
Starring: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis
What's the story?
A long-term US congressman (Will Ferrell) rocked by scandal faces an unexpected challenge for his safe North Carolina seat from a mild-mannered milquetoast (Zach Galifianakis). Time to kiss some babies...
What did we think?
With the satire left intentionally blunt by director Jay Roach, Bob Roberts this most definitely is not. Yet the rib-tickling combination of Ferrell and Galifianakis should still leave you with a smile on your face in a broad farce that aims at the funny bone as opposed to the jugular.
As Tory whip Andrew Mitchell has been discovering recently, one mistake in office can be the difference between a successful career and an ignominious exit. Calling a Downing Street plod a pleb, though, is small potatoes compared to what Will Ferrell and Zach The Hangover Galifianakis get up to in this raucous look at what it takes to get elected in small-town America.
Don't expect any Thick of It-style comedy from Jay Roach's film, which pretty much ditches politics altogether in favour of a straight personality clash between Will's oily smarm and Zach's fey gormlessness. But there are still plenty of guffaws to be had as its antagonists take to the campaign trail and proceed to commit one risible gaffe after another, egged on by their partners, aides (Jason Sudeikis and Dylan McDermott) and respective hangers-on.
Given Roach's last coup was to hoist Sarah Palin on her own petard in HBO's superb Game Change, his decision not to address the ideological conflicts currently dividing America must be seen as a seriously missed opportunity. If the idea of Will reprising his Dubya act or Galifianakis revisiting Due Date territory tickles your fancy, though, this Campaign will tick your box just fine.
Verdict: A narrow victory.
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