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Thursday, April 11, 2013

"The Campaign", politics can be a fun mess!

The Campaign

A political satire is always a complicated film to do. Where do you establish the limits of your jokes? What message (if any) do you want to give? Weight or fun? "The Campaign" has a clear goal: aims to be an unpretentious film to make you laugh.

In my opinion, that's the key to enjoy this film. If you are looking for substance, this is not the place. Politics are not taken seriously here. It's like seeing a flesh & bone episode of Family Guy on American elections. It's also a very unbalanced film. But it does have a healthy dose of spite and a noteworthy amount of hilarious (brutal too, some audiences could find it a bit "too much" for their tastes) moments.

Sure, with that level of physical and verbal comedy, main characters have to be up for their task. And granted they are. Will Ferrell plays a extremely crazy and dumb role, as long-term congressman for one of the biggest districts of North Carolina Cam Brady, while Zach Galifianiakis, as the naive Marty Huggins, is quite brilliant as their impossible rival. There are no sides taken by director Jay Roach here. Democrats and Republicans are equally ridiculed, completely out of their minds, and ready to do what it takes to win the elections. If any, the message of the film is here: politicians are the mere puppets of corrupted CEOs, who are the ones that take the decisions (no spoiling).

Another very positive and "healthy" issue is that "The Campaign" also leaves room to criticise, with sharpness, the whole election system, the role of the media, and voters. Yes, campaigns are phony. Yes, shameful campaign ads and political mudslinging are common policies. In that sense, the film only exaggerates (to the maximum) the machinations and backstabbing among the candidates. With some amusing results. But, if we all know, why don't we try to do something about it?

But as I said before, "The Campaign" is not here to offer solutions. As a matter of fact, and at least to me, their only regrettable mistake is its "happy ending". If you have been building a no-hold-barriers lampooning of real politics, you shouldn't close the movie with an "out of the blue" final message that there's always hope. It would have been more much striking and coherent to leave the audience with the feeling that no matter who wins, we the citizens lose.

Anyway, "The Campaign" is not a great movie or a mind-changer for sure, but I'm also convinced it won't leave you indifferent. At least it will make you laugh.

SCORE: 6/10

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