Campaign, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +1

Content: -4

Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis. Comedy. Directed by Jay Roach.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A parody of politics with Will Ferrell as the democratic congressman slinging nasty ads at the Republican challenger, an effeminate, naÔve man played by Zach Galifanakis, who then returns sling for sling. The makers took from todayís political climate and found it easy to make mockery ranging from witty to downright crude vocal and visual gags. (Whatís that, Will Ferrell in a crude comedy? Oh, perish the thought.)

PREVIEW REVIEW: A political satire from this down and dirty age is bound to be just that; elections parodied with much vulgarity, crudity, profanity and, because some candidates run on biblical declarations, even blasphemy. The film ridicules the phoniness of those who will do, say or spend anything in order to win an election. It is a funny movie, but so downright dirty and insensitive to followers of the Christian faith, that I just wanted it to be over.

Our cynicism toward elected officials is nothing new. Will Rogers and Mark Twain used to joke about them, as has every comedian since. But as talented as Mr. Ferrell and Mr. Galifianakis are, they, their director, and the filmís financiers felt a pressure to rely upon raunchiness and irreverence to entertain. Rather than using a more mature wit, such as found in Dr. Strangelove, the range of humor seldom leaves the sophomoric realm of say American Pie antics.

In one scene a candidate attends a service where the church folk are practitioners of snake handling. Once bitten, he spews a jolting tirade of cursings within the church building. A lot of audience members laughed at this outlandishness. I felt, as you might imagine, very uncomfortable. There are several other instances where Jesus is the brunt of jokes and the line is often crossed between the mocking of hypocritical politicians who use the Christian faith to gain support and the faith itself.

Though there are some laugh-out-loud scenes featuring the stars at their comic best, the humor routinely strays from bizarre burlesque to raucous rudeness. This will gain high marks from many a reviewer, most of whom will do little to discourage the acceptance of obscenity and religious ridicule as cinematic entertainment. Personally, when two movie kids began uttering their secrets, which included letting goats at a petting zoo lick their private parts (it gets even more graphic in discussion), I wanted to leave. When Will Ferrell began his cursing tirade in a church as hanging representations of Jesus overlooked the proceedings, I wanted to leave. When a villainous campaign manager utters a tongue lashing toward his candidate with the disrespectful inclusion of Jesusí name, I wanted to leave.

But I stayed. Merely to do my job. I earned my money last night. I stayed to give you the reason for the rating. This type of humor isnít going to disturb most of todayís moviegoers. The film will make a lot of money. But I hope youíll read the content section. I hope my sacrifice wasnít in vain.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Bros.

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Crude sexual and Scatological references throughout, some from children.

Obscene Language: I quickly gave up counting curse words as I soon realized that obscene language was going to be a major part of the comic dialogue; suffice it to say, there is an overwhelming amount of obscenity, including all the words heretofore used in comedies starring Will Ferrell.

Profanity: Around ten profane uses of Godís name or Christís; a great deal of humor is mined at the expense of Christ and His followers; in my opinion, the line is often crossed over from ridiculing phonies using religion to gain votes to the actual mocking of the religious beliefs themselves.

Violence: One man shoots another with a high powered rifle after his victim declares that he slept with his wife; a man punches a baby, this is played for laughs and itís obvious that a real child has not been struck; it like the rest of the outlandish humor is jolting.

Sex: Two sexual situations, one with a candidate having sex with a supporter in a port-a-potty; there are a great many sexual references and lots of crude sexual gags.

Nudity: A shot of a woman with a breast uncovered.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Lots of drinking.

Other: Often todayís movie humor banks on what I call the I-canítĖbelieve-I-justĖsaw-that factor. You know, the little old lady giving an obscene gesture, the inebriated spinster suddenly feigning the femme fatale, or the dog romancing an inanimate object. The shock visual is simply easier for many writers than the urbane quip.

Running Time: 97 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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