The Frat Pack used to be an entertainment entity of hugely talented proportions. Its members were comedy legends, actors who could do no wrong when it came to tickling audiences’ funny bones. Will Ferrell is probably the unofficial leader of this once highly coveted group of funnymen. The Frat Pack got a lot of mileage in the early to mid 2000‘s. Old School, Anchorman and Wedding Crashers were just a few of the Frat Pack’s successful entries in cinema. Unfortunately, Will Ferrell’s humor started to get stale as he tried recreating his previous success. This sad way of trying to relive the glory days was ever present in his latest cinematic bomb The Campaign. Filmmaker Adam McKay (Anchorman) is also partly to blame for this comedic misfire.
The film follows Cam Brady (Ferrell), a sleazy North Carolinian Congressman who is approaching re-election. Corrupt businessmen, the Motch brothers (John Lithgow & Dan Aykroyd) hatch a scheme to produce a candidate to run against Cam so that they can profit from illegal Chinese business. The candidate they find is Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), a goofy tourism director who lacks experience but possesses strong Christian morals.
The Campaign basically pits Brady against Huggins in an all out war between two utter buffoons. This formula of facing two major comedic actors against one another in a bout of ridiculousness and stupidity is time honored tradition and was wildly popular in 2008’s Step Brothers. The battle between the two men in The Campaign is very similar but sadly not as successful. The jokes are crude and unfunny. The screenwriters here have done nothing new in terms of providing audiences with a fresh and entertaining script. With every punchline bombing, one can’t help but cringe and hope for this movie to end.
Will Ferrell used to be good. It’s sad that his career has resulted in unfunny punishment for audiences. The Campaign had potential but its unoriginal plot and poorly executed script only hurt the film’s chances of being anything other than lame. Galifanakis is simply alright with his silly North Carolinian accent. He proved himself in The Hangover films and in HBO’s Bored to Death but his work in The Campaign does little to propel him further than where he already is.
Aside from the film two main stars, there is a pretty strong list of supporting actors in The Campaign. Dylan McDermott basically stole the show as a metrosexual campaign manager who transforms Huggins’ image. His character provides the film’s only real laughs. Brian Cox plays Huggins’ cold businessman father with skill and mild humor. The Motch brothers are played adequately by John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd and funnyman Jason Sudeikis is sort of wasted as Brady’s campaign manager. Basically, with such a seemingly powerful supporting cast, it’s confusing as to why this movie tanked so badly. The answer is that these supporting actors were not given the appropriate amount of screen time necessary to guarantee The Campaign to be a hit film.
Adam McKay does not care about his audiences anymore. This much is obvious. He can repackage Anchorman and spoon-feed it to us all he wants but the sad truth is that the product he’s giving us has lost its flavor. Will Ferrell also seems to feel this way. He made a few comedic hits in his day and is simply recycling them in a mediocre attempt to relive the glory days. The Campaign is a bad film. It should never have been made and its existence is one which will baffle many of today’s audiences. One can only hope that this sad type of unoriginal Frat Packness will end sometime. The actors aren’t totally to blame. It’s the screenwriters that deserve harsh punishment. Perhaps they can sit and watch movies like The Campaign. Then maybe they will learn their lesson and start producing a product worthy of one’s time.
Blu-ray Bonus Features
The bonus features for The Campaign are not very strong. There is a Line-O-Rama, deleted scenes and a gag reel.