THE CAMPAIGN is certainly by far the most restrained performance of Zach Galifianakis. A viewer cannot be blamed for having expectations high as this critic did especially following up to unforgettable performances in HANGOVER & DUE DATE. The question at hand is as follows. Is Zach restrained due to the character he is written to play or is he restrained because of the interpretation of the character by director Jay Roach? The critic cannot answer this accurately however is able to share an opinion.
Jay Roach is known for making decent comedies. AUSTIN POWERS, MEET THE PARENTS, MEET THE FOCKERS & more recently with DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS are a widely popular few. Jay worked with Zach in both DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS and THE CAMPAIGN and in both occasion he built the character in the same framework in terms of personality. Whilst it did work in favor of the movie in DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS it does not fly well in this critic’s opinion with THE CAMPAIGN. Hence in this critics perception the talent of the actor is obvious and the restrains set on him by Jay Roach is vivid.
On the other end of the line Will Ferrell is unstoppable. The blow dried congressman from North Carolina is the lion’s share of laughter. Child punching, Dog Punching and controversial voice messages are a few of the rib cracking moments if not the only moments of the 85 minutes production.
Exposing the darker side of politics on a lighter note, the timing of THE CAMPAIGN is impeccable with certain elections around the corner. There is a subtle hint on the corruption behind the arena of politics that Jay Roach very obviously unwittingly ponders upon. The similarity of the Motch Brothers with a certain (The name rhymes with Scotch) politically influential family in the US is obvious. However without pushing the obvious further Jay Roach carefully treads the path preserving the comedy instead of back lashing the brothers.
There is indeed a bitter sweet lesson in THE CAMPAIGN if critically analyzed in terms of a message to society and the motive of the screenplay. Then there is also the belief that certain shades of grey is best left not disturbed when it comes to a political angle. That role is better left in the hands of a journalist of the discipline and not in the hands of a movie critic.
Averagely done but strongly felt as a wasted opportunity.
TITLE: THE CAMPAIGN
DIRECTED BY: JAY ROACH
STARRING: WILL FERREL & ZACK GALIFIANAKIS