Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jay Roach|
|Music by||Theodore Shapiro|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$104.9 million|
The Campaign is a 2012 American political satire comedy film directed by Jay Roach, written by Shawn Harwell and Chris Henchy and stars Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as two North Carolinians vying for a seat in Congress. The film was released on August 10, 2012, by Warner Bros Pictures, to favorable reviews from critics.
Democratic Congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) of North Carolina's fictional 14th District is the incumbent, running for his fifth term unopposed. His campaign is damaged by the revelation of his affair with one of his supporters, when Cam accidentally leaves a sexually explicit voice message on a local family's answering machine.
The corrupt businessman brothers Glenn and Wade Motch (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) use this opportunity to convince Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), tourism director for the town of Hammond and son of one of their associates, Raymond Huggins, to run against Cam on the Republican ticket, as part of a plan to profit from dealings with a Chinese company. Cam at first underestimates Marty and humiliates him by playing a video biography highlighting potentially embarrassing aspects of Marty's life. The Motch brothers then hire Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermott) to be Marty's campaign manager. Wattley reinvents Marty as a successful entrepreneur and family man. Marty's popularity rises due to his effective campaign while Cam's is further damaged when he accidentally punches a baby when intending to hit Marty. Cam later runs a campaign portraying Marty as an Al Qaeda terrorist, and Marty exposes Cam as a fake Christian by asking him to recite the Lord's Prayer, which he fails to do. Cam attempts to restore his religious image by visiting a church of snake handlers, but he gets bitten by a snake. A video of the bite is leaked into the Internet and goes viral, increasing Cam's popularity.
When Cam's son plans to slander his competition for class president, Cam realizes he has set a bad example and visits Marty to make peace. While drunk, Cam tells Marty that he originally became a politician to help people, citing that as class president he had a dangerous, rusty slide removed from the playground. After Cam leaves, Wattley convinces Marty to call the police and report Cam for driving while drunk. Cam is arrested and his campaign is again damaged. Marty later airs a TV ad of Cam's son addressing Marty as "dad". Cam gets revenge on Marty by seducing his neglected wife Mitzi and recording the act. The released sex tape humiliates the Huggins family and causes Cam's campaign manager, Mitch, to abandon him. Marty retaliates by shooting Cam in the leg on a hunting trip, increasing his own popularity.
As the election nears, Marty meets with the Motch brothers and learns of their plans to sell Hammond to their Chinese business partner and turn the town into a factory complex. Marty realizes he has been used and rejects the brothers' support, leading them to defect to Cam's side. Marty meanwhile reconciles with his family.
On election day, Cam's victory appears certain until Marty exposes the Motch brothers' intent and promises to preserve Hammond if elected. Cam still wins and remains congressman due to rigged voting machines owned by the Motch brothers. While Cam gloats, Marty shows his large scars to Cam and reveals that he looked up to Cam in school for getting rid of the dangerous slide. Realizing he has strayed from his true objectives as a politician, Cam withdraws from the election and Marty wins by default. Cam earns back Mitch's respect, and Marty later appoints him his chief of staff.
Six months later, Marty and Cam expose the Motch brothers, who are called to appear before Congress. The brothers point out that everything they did is legal under Citizens United v. FEC, but they are arrested for their association with Wattley, who is actually an international fugitive.
- Will Ferrell as Camden "Cam" Brady
- Zach Galifianakis as Martin Sylvester "Marty" Huggins
- Jason Sudeikis as Mitch Wilson
- Dylan McDermott as Tim Wattley
- Katherine LaNasa as Rose Brady
- Sarah Baker as Mitzi Huggins
- John Lithgow as Glenn Motch
- Dan Aykroyd as Wade Motch
- Brian Cox as Raymond Huggins
- Karen Maruyama as Mrs. Yao
- Grant Goodman as Clay Huggins
- Kya Haywood as Dylan Huggins
- Billy Slaughter as Dermot
- Aaron Jay Rome as Intern Jason
- Taryn Terrell as Janette
- Josh Lawson as Tripp Huggins
- P. J. Byrne as Rick
- Thomas Middleditch as Travis
- Tzi Ma as Mr. Zheng
- Jack McBrayer as Mr. Mendenhall
- Kate Lang Johnson as Shana St. Croix
- Scott A Martin as Wes Talager
- Steve Tom as Representative Ben Langley
- Seth Morris as Confession Husband
- Tara Copeland as Confession Wife
- Nick Smith as Courtroom cameraman
- John Goodman as Rep. Scott Talley
- Cameos as themselves
Musical interludes and "Takin' Care of Business" performed by a group of musicians consisting of members from the Pride of The Plains Marching Band (Pittsburg State University) and local residents of Pittsburg, Kansas under the direction of Dr. Doug Whitten.
The film lampoons modern American elections and the influence of corporate money. It directly satirizes the Koch brothers with another pair of ultra-wealthy siblings: the Motch brothers. The film also alluded to the British Conservative Party's New Labour, New Danger campaign.
The Campaign grossed $86.9 million in the U.S. and Canada and $18 million in other territories, for a total gross of $104.9 million against a budget of $95 million.
On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 66% based on 204 reviews, with an average rating of 5.94/10. The site's critical consensus states: "Its crude brand of political satire isn't quite as smart or sharp as one might hope in an election year, but The Campaign manages to generate a sufficient number of laughs thanks to its well-matched leads." Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 50 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale.
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film an A- and described it as "one of the best comedies of the year" where "the material is offensively funny, but the laughs are very consistent".
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- "The Campaign". Box Office Mojo.
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- "The Campaign Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-11-27.
- "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Campaign" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
- "The Campaign Review". RichardRoeper.com. Retrieved 2012-11-27.
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