The Campaign Blu-ray|
I’ve been doing my best to avoid all the mainstream news coverage and various political debates for the upcoming election next week. The only thing I trust less than our 24-hour manipulative news system is the processed and filtered news they claim to report; especially when it involves the presidential election. The Campaign couldn’t have come at a better time; obviously rushed to home release, as it was still in theaters two months ago, but at least this Blu-ray release gives us the unrated extended cut with 11 minutes of new footage –not that those 11 minutes are all that special.
The Campaign is over-the-top raunchy humor, much in the same vein as The Hangover or any of the Seth Rogen comedies; a fact clearly realized when we see our star having sex in a Porta-John mere seconds into the film. It only gets worse from there, as this movie attempts to push all your morality buttons…usually at the same time. Will Ferrell plays Congressman Cam Brady who once again is running unopposed for his sixth term in office. Cam is not much of a politician as even he will admit later in the film. Instead, he uses his position to seduce the ladies, and when his indiscretions become public news fodder his “big money backers” (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) decide it’s time for somebody new to take his place. After all, with their secret agenda to bring Chinese manufacturing and sweatshop workers over to North Carolina to save on shipping costs, they can’t have any undue attention brought on their district.
Enter Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), the mild-mannered tour guide and directory of tourism for the city. You’d swear he was gay if it weren’t for his wife Mitzi (Sarah Baker) and two sons. While not politically savvy, Marty promptly registers to oppose Cam in hopes of securing the love and respect of his estranged father (Brian Cox), but first he is going to need a complete image makeover. Dylan McDermott plays Tim Wattley, a mix of fashion designer and covert ops. He redecorates Marty’s home as well as Marty, even to the point of replacing their two dogs with something “more American” – apparently Pugs are Chinese and thus communists.
After the initial first-act setup of characters and plot the movie settles in to an ongoing battle of wits and smear campaigns between Cam and Marty. Cam has never had opposition yet he expertly shows no mercy in attacking Marty. Marty doesn’t have an evil bone in his body but allows Wattley to influence him into doing some smearing of his own. As is typical with movies and advertising these days, you’ve likely already seen many of the best parts of The Campaign in TV spots and trailers, and what you haven’t seen is too raunchy for broadcast.
Every member of the cast sinks deep into their roles. Ferrell is the embodiment of the suave and corrupt politician while Zach creates some odd hybrid of his characters from Hangover and Due Date, complete with a vocal delivery style you won’t soon forget. Even the supporting roles with Cox, Lithgow, Aykroyd, and McDermott are wickedly charming, and we can’t overlook Sarah’s convincing performance as Marty’s wife who succumbs to the advances of Cam in one of his most fiendish of schemes and one of the film's most hysterical sequences that generates the first political ad with a TV-MA rating.
The Campaign is the embodiment of “dumb raunchy comedy” but so is real-world politics, and only through this extreme level of humor and satire can we finally see how corrupt our political system has become. Big business buys our politicians and runs this country into the ground for their own gain, and this movie offers a comical glimpse into that sad reality.
From a technical standpoint, the 1080p/AVC transfer looks fantastic with great colors, flesh tones, and plenty of political party reds and blues. The level of detail is incredible – just check out the close-ups on Cox’s chiseled features in the fishing scene – and the contrast and black levels are solid throughout. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix has only a few moments to shine, mostly in the crowded rally scenes where the rear channels spring to life, but for the most part this film sticks to the front channels with good panning effects and nicely mixed dialogue so you never miss a word of the hilarious script.
I would have loved a cast commentary for this film, but alas, we are left with a smattering of extras that you can breeze through in less than 30 minutes. This particular bundle offers both the original theatrical cut and the extended version with 11 new minutes that were hardly worth the effort to reinsert into the film. You'll also get a DVD copy and a UV digital copy. There are nine Deleted scenes including a rather lengthy alternate ending that was kind of dumb. Line-O-Rama is a 4-minute montage of the cast riffing on a few of their lines, many of which made it into the trailers but not into the film. And finally, you have a 4-minute Gag Reel that offers up a few more chances to smile and maybe even laugh.
With a great ensemble cast and a politically charged story, The Campaign is 90 minutes of non-stop laughter, even if it does resort to the lowest common denominator of raunchy humor to get those laughs. If you are remotely tempted to turn on the news or watch a political debate before the election next week you’ll easily find more truth and humor if you watch The Campaign on Blu-ray instead. I’m Mark Smith and I approve this movie…