"The Campaign": The Results Are In

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
September 5th, 2012

"The Campaign": The Results Are In

-- What do you get when you team up a comedy powerhouse duo, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, with the producer of "Austin Powers" and "Meet the Parents," Jay Roach? Well, that is what thousands of people wanted to find out during opening weekend, in which the film, "The Campaign," made over $27 million. After all the excitement during its opening weekend, what was the reaction of its viewers to "The Campaign"?

Will Ferrell plays Cam Brady, the previously unopposed congressman who cares more for power than he does for his community. Zach Galifianakis plays his opposing candidate, Marty Huggins, the eccentric son from a wealthy family. Each of these characters created laughs for many of the people who went to see the film.

Many people noticed the inversion each of the two characters held with regard to their political views. Cam is the proclaimed Democrat, but his personality and his patriotic spirit more closely resemble the stereotypical Republican. On the other side of the coin, Marty is a Republican, but his free-spirited, liberal attitude strongly resembles the typical idea of what a Democrat should be like. Many people took this as a comment on the arbitrary nature of the political parties.

Despite how funny their characters were, some viewers felt that Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis played the same perpetual character that they have each played in all of their previous films. This is quite true. If you picture Will Ferrell doing his George Bush impersonation and Zach Galifianakis playing his usual oddball character, you get a perfect picture of what these two are like in this film. Although some people look upon this as a bad thing, if you love their previous characters there is only more to love in this film.

"The Campaign" takes a notably neutral stance on politics, even though it claims to be a political satire. The role reversal of the characters' personalities helps to keep the film from siding with either political party. In addition, the non-stop comedy makes it harder to get a point across with regard to any sort of political statement. People who were hoping to come away with a new perspective on politics were usually let down.

The more prominent supporting characters often left people wanting more, but the minor characters were often the ones making people laugh and bringing something new and fresh to the film. Galifianakis and Ferrell had many of their stereotypical slapstick, over-the-top moments, and many of those moments were enough to get people laughing, but often the heartiest laughs arose from the least expected places.

Though a political satire can often be a good base for a comedy, much of society understands the problems with the government, so jokes about it can seem old and overdone. However, the way this film approaches the actual election process is entertaining and strikes a chord with viewers watching the current campaign leading up to the 2012 elections. Many of the tactics the two political candidates use in the film cause the audience to make hilarious connections with the current campaign. Sometimes those connections cause a belly-shaking laugh, and other times they spur on an understanding nod of agreement.

The entire film is completely over-the-top, and some viewers seemed to love this because it perfectly mimics the way modern political campaigns are sometimes absolutely outrageous. Much of the comedy comes from the way the audience could watch some of the scenes in the movie and realize how ridiculously close they were to elections in this era of political campaigning.

Overall, people looking only for a good laugh and a fun way to pass a few hours came away for the most part satisfied. Though some of the jokes fell flat, there were enough good ones to keep the audience laughing throughout most of the film. Those who went in looking for more than just a laugh, those who were looking for a political message or a positive portrayal of their own political party, typically came away unsatisfied, even if they did chuckle quietly to themselves.

This film continued to do well after the opening weekend, racking up quite good box office profits. Needless to say, audiences seemed to come away happy overall, and they gave it such good reviews that their friends decided to go see it as well.