The Campaign (R, 85 minutes): Not long ago, I adjusted the settings on my Facebook account so that I wouldn’t get any more FarmVille updates. Just when I got those under control … along came the political pundits with their relentless posts.
One after another. Post after post.
They post all manner of rants aimed at Obama, Romney, Bush, Palin, Gingrich, Bachmann, Lincoln, etc. They post overused memes and political cartoons. They recycle Anthony Weiner jokes — (most funny, actually.)
So, as I was watching The Campaign, I got this feeling that I was watching my Facebook News Feed. Not reading … watching.
That’s not to say it wasn’t funny. My Facebook friends can be a hoot, too. And you can’t lose with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis.
Ferrell (as North Carolina Congressman Cam Brady) and Galifianakis (as challenger Marty Huggins) engage in a political donnybrook that will remind you of the missteps that embroiled Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, Weiner (of course) and countless others.
Ferrell and Galifianakis seemed to be channeling previous movie roles — Ferrell created a hybrid Bush-Ricky Bobby politician while Galifianakis conjured up a bit of the clueless Alan from The Hangover.
For an 85-minute movie, I laughed more than I usually do. But again, it probably would have been more funny if we weren’t already exposed to social media’s endless stream of political rants, which is what happens when you give people the ability to broadcast themselves.
So, bottom line: If you want to enjoy The Campaign, stay off Facebook for a while or ignore your politically vocal friends.
THE PLOT: Ferrell’s character, Cam Brady, is the four-term incumbent in a fictional congressional race in North Carolina. Cam is obviously bulletproof to scandals. But as ethically bankrupt as even he is, the rich Motch brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd) want a candidate (Galifianakis’ Marty Huggins) that they can easily manipulate. The Motch brothers bankroll Marty’s campaign to make it easier to relocate one of their sweat shops in China to U.S. soil. From there, you’ve got mudslinging, a baby gets punched, bawdy video, kids cussing, snake-handling, Pug bulldogs.
BEST TIME FOR A BATHROOM BREAK: When Marty goes to see his dad, it gets a little long in the tooth. Do your business. The plot catches up.
TAKE THE KIDS? Eh, I wouldn’t. The language is a bit too blue. I was a little uncomfortable with Ferrell’s language in front of the kids on-screen, but that’s just me, a parent. (One of the movie’s funniest moments happens when the Huggins family puts its sins on the table).
DATE MOVIE? I certainly wouldn’t take a political science major … probably because they’re not going to stop ranting about how close this satire is to reality.