With The Campaign, the latest from Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, there are more missed opportunities to be seriously funny than there are scandals in the Republican Party. What could have been a gleefully cynical and poignant comedy about the mad election game, timely this year, is instead a dumb Will Ferrell comedy, with genius jabs at politics few and far between. Ferrell and crew go for the easy laughs, with babies getting punched in the face and other various forms of physical humor. You can’t blame them, for that was the heart of Anchorman and Step Brothers and other gut busters. The difference here is that the slapstick goofiness doesn’t mesh well with the political humor, resulting in a film torn between two styles that is never truly hilarious nor profound. It lacks heart and presents a tired and true idealisitic political message with no unique spin. Ferrell and Galifianakis both do routines they’ve done time and time before, and Jay Roach’s direction is lifeless. See The Campaign only for a few moments of genius, mostly through understated humor, and for Dylan McDermott as a shifty campaign manager. Otherwise, this ship sinks.
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