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Sep 01, 2012 at 10:57am IST

Masand: 'The Campaign' is promising but inconsistent

Cast: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis

Director: Jay Roach

Unable to decide if it wants to be a demented comedy or a cheeky political satire, The Campaign starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, is a promising but inconsistent film that takes some well-deserved jabs at the ridiculous business of American politics.

Ferrell stars as Cam Brady, a sleazy North Carolina congressman who expects to run unopposed for a fifth term, but finds himself pitted against a dim-witted political amateur, Marty Huggins (Galifianakis), when Brady’s sexual peccadillos become public. The film is essentially a series of back-and-forths between both candidates as they attempt to sabotage each other’s campaigns, with some help from their respective managers (Jason Sudeikis and a deliciously vile Dylan McDermott).

Many of the gags are genuinely funny, particularly one in which the two men spot a mother holding a baby at an election rally, and both rush to hold the little one first, realizing the potential of a favorable photo-op. What happens next is sheer slapstick gold. The problem is that this screwball humor suddenly makes way for not-particularly-insightful social commentary (with thinly veiled references to major players), and as a result you’re left with a film that’s neither this nor that.

I'm going with two out of five for The Campaign. Ferrell and Galifianakis are good. But they deserve better, and so do we.

Rating: 2 / 5

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