The Campaign | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Campaign

A mud-slinging election battle only mildly exaggerates reality to get laughs


If you're not getting enough gaffes and cringe-worthy moments during Obama vs. Romney, check out Jay Roach's comedy, in which two feuding North Carolina congressional candidates make a mockery of our electoral process. 

The incumbent is Cam Brady (Will Ferrell, channeling George W. Bush's brio, John Edwards' hair and the careless vulgarity of his own country-fried character on Eastbound and Down). Brady is a shoo-in, until two mega-rich corporate types — the Motch brothers (Dan Aykroyd, John Lithgow) — put up a puppet opponent, Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), a lisping, pug-owning, small-town oddball. But Huggins is inspired by the challenge. And despite patriotic feelings on both sides  — Brady's slogan is "America, Jesus, Freedom" — the campaign quickly turns to personal mudslinging.

Sound familiar? Folks who've been playing along at home will get a chuckle or two out of The Campaign, which riffs on everything from candidates' staged hunting trips and scurrilous attack ads to the increasingly powerful role of 24/7 media, image strategists and massive amounts of corporate money. Highlights include a spiraling-out-of-control town-hall meeting that has one candidate playing crazy defense ("Nobody will have to live in Rainbowville!") and an off-the-cuff and mangled recitation of The Lord's Prayer. Like so many stump speeches, a lot of the jokes fall a bit flat from familiarity, but you might as well get your 2012 campaign laughs in while you can.

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