Anyone who watched the Republican Party tear itself apart trying to choose a presidential candidate, or witnessed some of the negative methods employed in the US election itself, could be forgiven for mistaking The Campaign for a documentary.
The plot sees long-term congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell), who usually stands unopposed in his North Carolina district, commit a major public gaffe before an upcoming election. That leads a pair of ultra-wealthy CEOs (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) to put up a rival, puppet candidate to try to gain influence.
Director Jay Roach (Meet The Parents, Austin Powers) does a great job of pitting Ferrell's sleazy Republican and Zach Galifianakis' naïve newbie in a political fight to death. The contest has enough slapstick to please a broad audience but the writing goes deeper than that, with some excellent zingers, genuinely funny situations and fist-in-the-mouth unpleasant acts. Ferrell's incumbent (literally) pulls no punches and some of his TV ads are scarily close to the mark despite being ridiculous.
Marty Huggins (Galifianakis), director of the local tourism centre, starts as a complete outsider until a brutal but effective makeover. While Aykroyd and Lithgow should shine as the evil corporate Motch brothers, it's Dylan McDermott's cutthroat campaign manager who easily steals the show as he inserts himself ever further into Marty's life.
The DVD includes a digital copy of the film, as well as deleted and extended scenes - with the latter delivering more meanness and more fake porn. However, so often in comedy less is more and for the most part the additional content would have only served to slow down the movie. The only real items of note are an alternative ending with a Chinese flavour and some excellent "your mama" jokes.
Overall, The Campaign should get your vote for at least a rental and we wholeheartedly approve this message.