America loves a political blood bath. Sex, money, scandals, [insert word here]-gate; it all generates more results than, you know, doing stuff. It’s no surprise than that North Carolina voters eat up the manipulated feud between formerly unopposed Congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) and local Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis). They’re coarse, they’re crude, and air ads where they’re screwing the others wife. It gets ugly on the campaign trail.
The Campaign has no aversion in offending. It seems to enjoy it quite honestly, this one of those where you need to batten down the hatches on the kids bedrooms to ensure nothing seeps into their impressionable ears. Brady is a flagrant mouther, a perfect counterpart to the subdued, naively kind Huggins. The latter is pulled in under the wing of the Moch Brothers (yes, it’s what you think) desperate to “insource” Chinese jobs. They merely need a lackey to pull it off.
You can probably tell where The Campaign will end up, and that’s fine. All of the baby and dog punching needed to get there sells the comedic spirit of this often heartless look at American politics. The sad reality is that it’s often not much of a stretch. Hardly a week goes by where one of our leaders doesn’t metaphorically punch a baby, and try to cover it up.
Campaign’s cross talk is pure joy, whittling down both candidates with ludicrous assertions (Huggins’ pugs are Chinese), bountiful comedic ads (Brady is a man’s man for sleeping with a super model), and set-ups that are nothing short of ingenious, too hysterical to be outed. Cows are hit, people drive drunk, poll numbers bounce, and boobs stick out. It’s awesome.
Undoubtedly, people will scrutinize the film, some theories surrounding the anti-capitalist nature and how Hollywood leans. Most will sit back and take the material for what it is. The Campaign is inspired casting, and pacing that doesn’t have a minute to lose. With a paltry 80-minutes (ten more in an extended cut), Campaign must escalate quickly or risk losing someone. Brady is taking his sexual perversion to a Port-a-Potty before the title card, so that’s not a concern.
The reality of it all is that each side comes across as scum, Brady for his ridiculous tactics, Huggins for being so easily manipulated. It doesn’t matter who is portraying which party – both are infinitely involved in shady dealings more concerned with their election than politics themselves. Maybe that hits too close to home, or right on your head if you live here in the States. Some of these laughs are worried chuckles for sure.
Campaign proves bold on Blu-ray, an AVC encode from Warner staying out the way to capture this digital source in pristine fashion. Dense, bold, bright colors are brilliant on screen, and immediate. Campaign signs at a Brady rally are outstandingly vivid, and despite the primary bump, flesh tones move along unimpeded.
There’s not much to see in medium shots, and even some close-ups will fall victim to a flatness that can’t be denied. That said, there are some surprises here. A number of shots pour over definition like it’s nothing and sell the fidelity that the format is capable of. Exteriors are remarkable as well, in particular those at Huggins’ home.
Sparse noise will draw minimal ire from even the hardened types, relegated to a couple of backgrounds in passing shots. There is no direct impact on the visual front. Black levels have a nice lock on the material, consistent across the runtime with few challenging moments. Much of the movie runs during the day or in well lit debate halls. Pleasing comedy with few problems.
Speeches will echo out instantly from this DTS-HD offering, a relatively sedate one when crowds are not in play. A concert is lively, and a moment at the gun range carries a bunch of gunshots in the surrounds as a background event. Minimal scoring doesn’t have much reach.
Dialogue is fine on a sharp, consistent level. You won’t lose anything said no matter the circumstances or screamers at town hall meetings. This is perfectly up to par for the material with just a little dash of extra.
Sparse extras are a bit of a downer considering the box office success. What’s here is a lot of fun though. The line-o-rama improv series is a joy for four minutes. A gag reel is equally so for only three. Nine deleted/alternate scenes carry some snappy laughs too, with most pulled from the extended cut of the movie.