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The Campaign - Blu-ray Review

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The Campaign - Movie Review

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3 Stars

In this frustrating election year, The Campaign has a chance to score big.  We all need a laugh…especially at politicians.  Politically incorrect satire?  Not quite.  No doubt Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis bring the politically incorrect to the table.  Moments of comedic outrageousness will have you bent over.  It’s the satire that gets lost in the mix.  Several moments where the political jabs really could have stuck get lost and, moments when the voters could be lampooned for their unforgivable stupidity, are tossed aside, too.  All is not lost, though as the easy laughs score big with this light comedic romp.

After a huge plunge in the polls following long-term (and unopposed) Congressman Cam Brady (Ferrell) making a public gaffe by accidentally phoning a family and leaving a dirty message intended for his mistress, two power brokers (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd) manufacture a second candidate for the upcoming North Carolina elections.  They need someone to sell North Carolina out to the Chinese.  You read that right.

Enter the naïve and eccentric Marty Huggins (Galifianakis).  His father (Brian Cox) hates him, but after a leather-clad campaign manager (Dylan McDermott) is appointed and Marty's life and family are overhauled (including his dogs), some respect is gained. On the other side of the political fence, Brady’s continued antics are causing his campaign manager (Jason Sudeikis) some serious sleepless nights.  Let the mud slinging and hilarity begin as these two candidates play a childish game of one-upmanship until a winner is declared.

Directed by Jay Roach (of Austin Powers fame), The Campaign keeps spinning its wheels but doesn’t quite take to its destination.  Roach can’t manage the satire and keeps the focus on the mud-slinging until settling on a hackneyed ending that just seems out of place for two men whose actions resulted in a baby being punched instead of being kissed.  As funny as that moment is, the payout in this flick should be the satire…of which there is very little.  Obvious moments, yes, there are plenty.  And, yes, the combined talents of Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis do much to launch this movie into the stratosphere with laughs.  But Wag the Dog this isn’t.

The actual congressional campaign is pretty entertaining between these two rivals.  It essentially boils down to this statement: anything that ass-clown can do, I can do … worse.  Brady is cocky, arrogant, and quite frisky with the ladies.  He’s a democrat that runs on the following slogan: Guns.  Jesus. America.  He doesn’t know what it means but it certainly gets the crowds chanting and gets him re-elected year after year.  The Hobbit-looking Huggins is a family man who had to be asked six times by his Mitzi (Sarah Baker) before he agreed to marry her.  His kids are overweight and hysterically steal the dinner table scene where he asks if they have anything to hide since the family will be put in the media spotlight.

But what have they lost in the process?  Attempting to answer this question, screenwriters Chris Henchy and Shawn Harwell try to top the over-the-top antics of these candidates with a heartfelt message.  Big mistake.  No one cares about politicians.  We want the backstabbing, the hilarity, the revenge; all of which is served by the script.  We just don’t want the message.  And, after a title card that proudly thumps its chest in a declaration that there are no rules in politics, deciding to put in a consciousness in the middle of the on-screen chaos is huge risk…that doesn’t quite work because the satire isn’t in firm place.

As hysterical as it is, like a true politician, The Campaign flip-flops on its message and sells out in the favor of farce.

{2jtab: Film Details}

The Campaign - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for crude sexual content, language and brief nudity.
Runtime:
96 mins.
Director
: Jay Roach
Writer
: Chris Henchy, Shawn Harwell
Cast: Will Ferrell; Zach Galifianakis; Jason Sudeikis; Dylan McDermott; Katherine LaNasa
Genre: Comedy
Tagline:
The Campaign
Memorable Movie Quote: "Filipino Tilt-a-Whirl operator are this nation's backbone."
Distributor:
Warner Bros. Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 10, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 30, 2012

Synopsis: When long-term congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) commits a major public gaffe before an upcoming election, a pair of ultra-wealthy CEOs plot to put up a rival candidate and gain influence over their North Carolina district. Their man: naive 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, a cutthroat campaign manager and his family's political connections, he soon becomes a contender who gives the charismatic Cam plenty to worry about.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

The Campaign - Blu-ray review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
3 stars

3 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - October 30, 2012
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region-free

Warner Bros presentation of The Campaign is nearly flawless.  The 1080p, AVC-encoded transfer is sharper in almost every way from its original presentation.  Of course, if you are tired of politics this election season then you won’t give a shit about how the film looks.  That being said, there is a high level of fine detail throughout the film.  Black levels are consistent and the color is strong.  Skintones are spot-on, as well.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 provides a nice set-up with the dialogue up front and atmospheric effects during larger scenes.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Once again, Warner Bros disappoints.  If you’ve a calculator handy, you can add up the total of supplementals and see that – clocking in at just over 20 min – there’s nothing to get excited about in owning this release.  Even the enticingly labeled Extended Version, included here in this release, adds only a few minutes of deleted footage that was appropriately taken out because it wasn’t very funny in the first place.  The best feature is the Line-O-Rama which showcases some of the best alternate lines and jokes from the improv gags.  The deleted scenes are simply extended versions of some of the gags in the movie trimmed for time and the gag reel is, yet another, joke in and of itself; not very funny at all.

  • Line-O-Rama (4 min)
  • Deleted/Altered Scenes (15 min)
  • Gag Reel (4 min)

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