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Review: Take the Money and Run (The Campaign)

The Democratic process has thrived for the United States for a long time. The gloss of years passed and the legacy of our fore fathers helping preserve those ideals. That image of the American political system in action has been immortalized on film by such depictions as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and The American President.

Enter 2012. The legacy is still present, but audiences have turned the channel to the latest sex-scandal.

Three-term Representative Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) has all the makings of a political superstar: the hair, the family, the hair... it really is that impressive. His popularity is so unprecedented that he has no opponent in the upcoming election. All he has to do is sit on his laurels and he's re-elected. That's it. In the course of sitting out, Brady leaves a message on a stranger's answering machine and fouls all of that up. Still, even with Brady's declining poll numbers, no one will bite.

This frustrates the Motch Brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Ackroyd reveling in dirty deeds) considerably. They, along with their billions, need a man willing to front their legislation and they may have found it in local Marty Huggins (Zach Galifinakis). His stature is that of a Hobbit, his facial hair is unbecoming a politician and his speech-making could use work. With their wealth, the Motches can turn Marty into the slick and polished Representative that Durham votes for.

Will Ferrell and Zach Galifinakis are often bemoaned for just turning in funny voices, but the screentime allotted to the two men allows Cam Brady and Marty Huggins to adapt to living characters instead of one-off jokes. Before these two go to war against each other, we have to half respect them, otherwise everything devolves into a mess of An American Carol proportions.

There are few directors around who can cast Will Ferrell in a vehicle and manage to still find a message in the shenanigans that occur and Jay Roach is apparently one of those directors. Whether one should congratulate Mr. Roach on his accomplishment depends entirely on their political views.

Ferrell and Galifinakis take no prisoners as all participants in the political arena are taken hostage for laughs time and time again. How much one audience member may enjoy The Campaign relies on they're familiarity with Citizens United. Support Political Action Committees? You may want to revisit this one later.

Despite the politics of the movie and its sledgehammer subtlety, this is not a biting satire, rather, a product of two comedians willing to make fools of themselves. As such, it comes with the endorsement of some of the heartiest laughs had in a while.

***/****

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