Release date: August 10, 2012
Directed by: Jay Roach
Screenplay by: Chris Henchy & Shawn Harwell
Story by: Adam McKay & Chris Henchy & Shawn Harwell
Cast: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, Katherine LaNasa, Dylan McDermott, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, Brian Cox, Karen Maruyama
Running Time: 85 minutes
Similar to a presidential nominee who tries to balance the ticket by choosing a running mate who boasts attributes unlike his own – in order to attract a greater portion of the populace – The Campaign attempts to simultaneously appeal to fans of both the highbrow and the low. In effect, running its own contest between the slapstick versus the sly. But just like the pairings of McCain/Palin, Perot/Stockdale, Bush/Quayle or McGovern/Eagleton… the movie’s resultant mash up seems strained.
For a possible explanation, we don’t need to look any further than director Jay Roach himself. While he has created brilliant political satire and dramedy (the Emmy-nominated Game Change, the Emmy and DGA-winning Recount), he’s also helmed features rife with rude buffoonery and outrageous parody (the first two Fockers films and the Austin Powers series, respectively). Here, on one side of the not-so-partisan aisle, we’re treated to the likes of an unabashed slam of billionaire industrialists running dirty political games (the thinly veiled Koch Brothers, renamed the Motch Brothers); vapid politicians mouthing slogans sans ideas; and easily manipulated voters led around like sheep. And yet, on the other side of that same aisle, Roach and writers Chris Henchy, Shawn Harwell and longtime Will Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay go to town with babies and dogs getting punched in the face, country bumpkins, drunken car chases, crude sex jokes, etc.
It seems that this movie is the cinematic equivalent to one size fits most.
[For Kimberly Gadette's full review and rating on doddle, please click here]