Timing Couldn’t Be Better for Will and Zach
THE CAMPAIGN (2012/IN THEATERS) I know that this movie hit theaters weeks ago but trust me–now is actually the perfect time to go see it in theaters, particularly if you’ve been following the Republicans and Democrats at their national conventions over the last two weeks. For one thing, you’ll find all your favorites back at their respective news desks since Wolf Blitzer, Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell, and even Piers Morgan, Bill Maher and Dennis Miller play themselves as part of the satire. What could be better? And honestly what could be a better antidote to this year’s endless presidential election than a broad, raunchy send-up of a nasty political campaign? That was clearly the thinking behind the film, which stars Will Ferrell, back in his Talladega Nights mode, as Republican Congressman Cam Brady. Cam has a nice swagger and a perfect $600 John Edwards style haircut; he’s looking to score his 4th term running unopposed in a rural North Carolina district. Thanks to a little “sexual indiscretion,” Cam’s campaign manager Mitch (Jason Sudeikis) tells him that his approval numbers are sinking like a stone causing his financial backers– the Motch brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd–ironically reminiscent of the Duke brothers in “Trading Places”)–to decide to find another candidate they can own and control. Enter Zach Galifianakis as Marty Huggins, the earnest but clueless head of tourism for the district and the youngest son of a wealthy, former political handler (played by Brian Cox) with deep connections to the Motch’s. Next thing you know, Marty is running against Cam and the knives are out. The Motch brothers assign Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermott), their kick-ass campaign manager, to whip Marty into shape. Soon even his beloved Chinese Pugs are replaced by a Labrador and a Golden Retriever–complete with bandanas, natch. The plot is totally predictable after the set-up but the jokes are plentiful and even though many (most?) are sophomoric, people in my audience were laughing out loud. And I have to say that I loved Marty’s campaign slogan: “…it’s a mess.” Washington, of course. Who could agree more? Especially after two weeks of close observation.