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The Campaign Is Funny Fare for This Season — and Surprisingly Fair

The characters' personalities are drawn so that the audience roots for the underdog family-guy Republican over the incumbent womanizing Democrat.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

August 10, 2012 - 3:29 pm
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Huggins earnestly sees the race as a chance to help his community, but is made over by Motch campaign-manager-in-the-clutch Tim Wattley. Dylan McDermott does a great job as the campaign manager all Washington reporters know too well. The makeover includes swapping Marty’s pugs for a Lab and a Golden Retriever and giving his wife “Katie Couric hair” to help counter focus groups that call Huggins “clammy,” “probably Serbian,” and “looks like the Travelocity gnome.”

The send-up of campaign advertising, especially considering real ads that have appeared in this go-round, is one of the high points of the script. Brady tries using his mistress in a campaign ad alongside Bill Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger to prove his manliness. The Democrat then goes after his Republican challenger with an ad showing that Islamic extremists from al-Qaeda to the Taliban have one thing in common — facial hair — so the mustachioed Huggins should take a lie-detector test to prove he’s not al-Qaeda.

And to think this was produced before Harry Reid’s tax return accusations.

During one debate where Brady compares Huggins’ ‘stache to Saddam Hussein’s and claims his sons “Uday and Falafel” are still at large, Huggins challenges the Democrat to say the “Our Father.” It doesn’t quite go well for the Dem. At another debate, Huggins wields a 2nd-grade crayon-scrawled “manifesto” from the congressman on “Rainbowland,” which he says encourages redistribution of wealth. There’s even a well-placed “hunting accident” that gives the Republican a hike in the polls.

In summary, the characters’ personalities are drawn so that the audience roots for the underdog family-guy Republican over the incumbent womanizing Democrat.

The Campaign is a brisk 85 minutes and funnier than the previews let on, though some may find some of the humor too gross-out. The fat-cat financiers conspiring from an ivory tower is a bit tired, and the movie also takes a dig at the integrity of electronic voting, but viewers won’t exactly walk out of this comedy with any political conversions.

I’m sure I will be catching this again on cable, though, when Campaign 2012 is a memory, when the real-life ads and accusations will have gotten even worse than they are now (and The Campaign suggests dealing with these cage-match style, which wouldn’t be such a bad idea at this point), and when I fondly recall having nachos with Mr. Campaign Finance Reform.

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Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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