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Campaign, The


Stars: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Dylan McDermott, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, Brian Cox, Jason Sudeikis, Sarah Baker

Director: Jay Roach

A predictably rude and crude political comedy (satire is too strong a word here) that pots a few easy targets and lacks any cutting edge. But it is occasionally funny, especially in its portrayal of an American-Vietnamese housekeeper who has to pretend to be an old-fashioned black maid - she even says 'I'se a-comin' - because it 'reminds him (her employer) of the old days'. Even this gag, though, is milked for more than it's worth.

Ferrell plays a lazy, good-for-nothing (except infidelity) senator up for a fifth term, while Galifianakis is the no-account wimp selected at the 11th hour to run against him. McDermott is the sinister 'agent' hired to lick the loser into shape, while Lithgow and Aykroyd lurk on the sidelines, planning to turn North Carolina into a suburb of China and doubtless distantly related to the disreputable Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy from Trading Places.

The comedy that follows, like the film's dialogue, is ripe and raunchy, though toothless and lazy, apart from Galifianakis' distress at having his pants down before entering Congress - 'It's usually the other way round' he says. Other below-the-belt antics include Ferrell's ludicrous seduction of his rival's wife (Baker), which he posts on TV. A couple of chuckles are raised, however, by Ferrell's attempts to smash Galifianakis' face in, which end in him punching out a) a baby and b) the canine co-star of The Artist.

There's a very brief cameo for John Goodman, but this is largely close-your-eyes-and-hope-it'll-end soon stuff.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
87 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 23 Sep 2012