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Monday, August 27, 2012

When Comedians Become Politicans -- THE CAMPAIGN Movie Review


Howkay, this post is not about a former comedian who became a senator who according to news reports plagiarized the work of a blogger for his privilege speech at the Philippine Senate.  Wheh!  That was a long line!  This post however is quite similar with what's happening in the Philippine government and society today.  :)    This is a review of the movie THE CAMPAIGN starring comedians Will Ferrell and Zach Galifinakis who became politicians in the movie!  Let's see the result!  Hehe :)

When long-term Congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) commits a major public gaffe before an upcoming election, a pair of unscrupulous power brokers plots to put up a rival candidate and gain influence over their North Carolina district. Their man: na├»ve Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), director of the local Tourism Center. At first, Marty appears to be the unlikeliest possible choice but, with the help of his new benefactors’ support and a cutthroat campaign manager, he soon becomes a contender who gives the charismatic Cam plenty to worry about. As Election Day closes in, the two are locked in a dead heat, with insults quickly escalating to injury until all they care about is burying each other. It’s a mud-slinging, back-stabbing, home-wrecking comedy from “Meet the Parents” director Jay Roach that takes today’s political circus to its logical next level. Because, even if you believe campaign ethics have hit rock bottom…there’s still room to dig a whole lot deeper.

Other Cast
“The Campaign” also stars Jason Sudeikis as Cam Brady’s loyal but increasingly overwhelmed campaign manager, Mitch; and Katherine LaNasa as Cam’s single-minded wife, Rose. Dylan McDermott stars as Tim Wattley, tasked with transforming Marty Huggins’s public image; with John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd as the powerful Motch brothers, the money behind his implausible bid for Congress; and Brian Cox as Marty’s father, retired political operator Raymond Huggins, who cannot fathom what any of them see in his son.

Production Team
Directed by Jay Roach (Emmy Award winner for HBO’s “Recount” and Emmy nominee for HBO’s “Game Change”) and written by Chris Henchy & Shawn Harwell, from a story by Adam McKay & Chris Henchy & Shawn Harwell, “The Campaign” was produced by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Jay Roach and Zach Galifianakis. Amy Sayres, Jon Poll and Chris Henchy served as executive producers.

P.O.T.G. Review

Concept and Characters
THE CAMPAIGN is a very timely comedy movie that everyone, from what ever country in the world, should watch!  The story may be told in a comedic way but the plot and problems are very relevant in the society.

Cam Brady represents what we call in the Philippines as trapo (rag) or traditional politicians.  He has been in position for a long time.  He is "corrupt", immoral and arrogant.  He thinks he can stay in power until the end of time.  Marty Huggins on the other hand symblizes what we call in the Philippines as odd candidates (weird personalities appearing during election) or incompetent politicians.  These are people who are voted by the public by mere popularity. 

With these two characters alone, I bet you could imagine how every Filipino could relate to the movie.  But then there were the scandals, manipulative millionaires and the dirty campaign tactics, they just made us feel at home! Haha.

Thanks to the screenplay, what was supposed to be the most hated topics in many societies became sources of tons of laughter!  The punchlines were so hilarious and powerful and they made everyone in the audience look and laugh like crazy!  But while we're laughing at what we can call our "system", I would like to believe that it somehow opened or reminded the audience of the politics we are living in and hopefully lead us to doing the right thing. 

Casting and Acting
In terms of casting and acting, it's definitely two thumbs up!  Will as a dirty Cam Brady and Zach as odd and naive Marty Huggins are very effective, and funny, in their respective roles. Zach was totally different in this movie I just can't wait for him to walk, move, make face and open his mouth, it was really a roll of laughter for me!  Will on the other hand is outrageous in many of his scenes, when he showed his fierce face, embarrassing acts and stupid remarks (howkay, now I remembered our Senator here haha).  They're really great in this film!

Zach's family in the movie is equally outrageous as well, and up to now, while writing this, I can't help but laugh at that "open-up" dinner they had!  :D

Jason Suideikis is lovable in his role but the real scene stealer is Dylan McDermott who was surprisingly frightening yet very hilarious in his character and "pop-up" scenes haha.

Some More Comedy Highlights
There are tons of funny moments but of course I won't mention them all except for those scene in the trailers.  You should watch out for the punch at the baby (although this scene may be a little sensitive for some) and Cam Brady's dirty campaign calling every voting sector as the backbone of the country.  In fact, Filipinos were mentioned.  Cam Brady said, "Filipino Tilt-a-Whirl operators are this nation's backbone!  Salamat!  The skeptical look of the Filipino extras (who were recruited from Filipino restaurants in New Orleans) in the movie were so funny!  I don't know if the sectors featured will be offended since their community may not be that too big to become a backbone but Cam Brady courts them, says all the nice things to get their votes.  Well, that's the downside yet the upper hand of satires, some may not like it but it delivers not just fun but a message as well.

Builds, Insights and Recommendations
I won't question the lack of sensitivity because as said, THE CAMPAIGN is satire in nature.  It's given in the film's genre.  I just don't know if the few "anti-Chinese" scenes in the movie like the the business-politics issue down to the choice of dogs are reflective of the situation in the USA, if there's really a strong sentiment about this matter. If it is, since this is an American movie, then it is acceptable for this type of film. But what I am not in favor of is the exaggerated western accent of the Asian (I can't remember if she's Chinese) household help of the Motch brothers.  My reason is not political, it's just not funny at all.  :)

I just somehow felt some "cheesiness" towards the end of the movie.  Perhaps I enjoyed the film too much that I forgot to foresee how the film will end.  It's still a comedy movie in the first place and most of the times, they have template endings.  But somehow, this film's conclusion was able to make that cheesiness quite "delicious".  It still has "cheese" but the way it's resolved is a welcome treat for me.  I just don't agree on the sudden change of mind.  It should have been in progression, in prior scene/s perhaps.

If you'll say there was no better choice between Brady and Huggins (in which based on character I really agree), I suggest you better watch the movie and witness for yourself how can it be concluded right!  :)

So when comedians become politicians (just) IN THE MOVIE, the result is an entertaining and hilarious yet relevant and lesson filled comedy film!  I just hope that while we laugh, which is really quite a lot, we will be able to remember the RIGHT THING. But in real life, especially in the Philippines, when comedians become politicians is a different and not so funny story.  :)

From a scale of 1 to 10, I'm giving THE CAMPAIGN 8 claps with a victory toast!  :)  From Warner Bros. and with an MTRCB rating of R-13, the movie opens in theaters on August 29.

Here's the official movie trailer:

1 comment:

  1. When you have Ferrell and Galifianakis in a comedy, you should be able to expect absolute hilarity from start-to-finish, which in a way, is what we get at some points. Other points in this flick, they seem to just keep on constantly be doing the same thing every 5 seconds just to act more ridiculous and it’s not as funny here, as it is in everyone of Ferrell’s other flicks. Great review.


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