If the primary objective of The Campaign is to leave moviegoers with the sense that politics are screwy, then ... mission accomplished. This satirical send-up takes deliberate steps to point out that corporate influence is setting the tone in Washington. But any meaningful political commentary quickly falls by the wayside: This is primarily a dick- and fart-joke fest.
Billionaire tastemakers the Motch Brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd as characters inspired by the real-life Koch Brothers) grow tired of Congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) after he makes yet another misstep on the campaign trail, so they dump him and tap the earnest, inexperienced Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis) to run against him. There’s a solid back-and-forth between Ferrell and Galifianakis as each takes a turn as the favored candidate, but ultimately all they prove is that pulling a narrative thread from a tangle of one-liners is quite difficult.
Ferrell’s turn as Brady is essentially his standard manic man-baby crammed into the frame of his old Bush impersonation from SNL. Galifianakis’ Huggins is lispy, but not quite limp-wristed, and actually an ideal foil to Ferrell’s man-possessed routine. Both are wildly strong comedic actors, but are used interchangeably in a maddening way. Despite revolving around an election, there are no discernible party lines. Rather, one character or the other is simply painted like a dick whenever a difference needs to be conveyed. While few will probably go into The Campaign expecting highbrow social commentary, this disappoints on the simple scale as well.