‘The Campaign' focus on funny side of politics

Friday, August 10, 2012

Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis have brought the campaign trail to the big screen, and the timing couldn't be better.

In "The Campaign," which opens today, they play two North Carolina politicians competing in an increasingly nasty congressional race in a small district. Galifianakis' character shoots Ferrell's point blank, Ferrell punches a baby and both see poll numbers surge after these ridiculous events. This might all seem extremely silly and unbelievable if this weren't an election year complete with equally absurd headlines often fueling the fires of comedy.

Galifianakis plays Marty Huggins, a sometimes-racist Southern effeminate with a creepy mustache. Ferrell says he found inspiration in former senator John Edwards, albeit with shades of his hilarious George W. Bush impression from "SNL." The film is directed by Jay Roach, whose career with comedies ("Austin Powers," "Meet the Parents") and acclaimed real-life political dramas ("Recount," "Game Change") made him a natural choice.

It's a winning ticket that pits two of the best comedians in the movies against each other. The two first crossed paths at "Saturday Night Live," where Ferrell was a veteran standout and Galifianakis had a short-lived stint as a writer. Ferrell eventually left and launched a successful movie career, while Galifianakis continued with stand-up before "The Hangover" transformed him from indie favorite to one of the most sought-after comics in Hollywood. Personally, I find both guys to be masters of farce.

So, if you're burned out on all the attack ads and posturing, "The Campaign" might be a great source of comic relief during an otherwise-serious time. And it never hurts to have a few laughs in the face of political frustration.

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