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Jay Roach
Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott, Katherine LaNasa, Sarah Baker, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, Brian Cox
Writing Credits:
Chris Henchy, Shawn Harwell

May the best loser win.

When long-term congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) commits a major public gaffe before an upcoming election, a pair of ultra-wealthy CEOs plot to put up a rival candidate and gain influence over their North Carolina district. Their man: naive Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), director of the local Tourism Center. At first, Marty appears to be the unlikeliest possible choice but, with the help of his new benefactors' support, he soon becomes a real contender. As election day closes in, the two are locked in a dead heat, with insults quickly escalating to injury until all they care about is burying each other in this mud-slinging, back-stabbing, home-wrecking comedy from Meet the Parents director Jay Roach.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$26.588 million on 3205 screens.
Domestic Gross
$86.382 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical Version Only)
Latin Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical Version Only)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical Version Only)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical Version Only)
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:
Latin Spanish

Runtime: 85 min. (Theatrical Version) / 96 min. (Extended Cut)
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 10/30/2012

• Both Theatrical and Extended Versions of Film
• “Line-O-Rama” Alternate Takes
• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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The Campaign [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 24, 2012)

Given the excesses of modern politics, that field has become more and more difficult to parody. Nonetheless, 2012’s The Campaign does its best, as it follows a down and dirty run for Congress.

With no opposition against him, North Carolina Representative Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) expects an easy path to re-election. However, business moguls Wade and Glenn Motch(Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) prefer a candidate who they can control, so they find small town nobody Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis) – son of local political legend Raymond Huggins (Bryan Cox) - to go against Brady.

At first this looks like a total mismatch, but with ace manager Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermott) in his corner, Marty gets whipped into shape and makes it a real race. This leads toward a wild run as Marty and Cam go toe to toe in an increasingly dirty campaign.

If you want to find another film most analagous to Campaign, I’d point toward Ferrell’s 2006 hit Talladega Nights. Both offer fairly similar plot arcs and characters, and Ferrell’s performance as Cam Brady often feels like a cross between his George W. Bush impression and Talladega’s Ricky Bobby.

In addition, both films work substantially better on second viewing. My Talladega review doesn’t stress this well, but I came to like that movie a whole lot more with added screenings, and the same is true for Campaign. When I saw it theatrically, I thought it was merely okay. It offered moderate entertainment but didn’t amuse me as much as I’d hoped.

While my second screening still allows me to discern the movie’s flaws, I can also better appreciate its positives. In particular, both Ferrell and Galifianakis are quite good, and they demonstrate excellent chemistry together – maybe not on the super-high level we got between Ferrell and John C. Reilly in Talladega and Step Brothers, but they still form a terrific team.

This doesn’t mean the supporting cast disappoints, as the secondary actors also do nice work. However, we pay our money to see Ferrell and Galifianakis, and they don’t disappoint. I can’t say either one does much to stretch his talents; we’ve seen them play similar characters in the past, and even use similar jokes, such as Galifianakis’s pronunciation of “Lady Gaga”. Still, they deliver the goods and bring fine humor to the proceedings.

When the movie focuses on the titular congressional run, it works best. The film sputters a bit when it tries to go preachy on us via the Motch Brothers elements. Between 2012’s Game Change and 2008’s Recount, director Jay Roach has spent so much time with political commentary that he apparently finds it impossible to resist heavy-handed sermonizing.

And that creates a drag on the film. As a broad comedy, it works well, but when it goes all Mr. Smith on us, it becomes less enjoyable. I’m glad the lead characters have arcs, but I’d prefer to see them grow/change without the leaden corporate commentary.

Even though that side of things mars the third act, I still think The Campaign is a winner. It throws more than enough comedy at us and much of it sticks.

Trivia note: the Wattley character provides one of the more obscure Seinfeld references to appear in a film. Bryan Cranston played dentist “Tim Whatley” in a few episodes of that classic series. There’s no question that “Wattley” is a nod to “Whatley” – and one that made me laugh.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C

The Campaign appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Though not killer, this was usually a satisfying presentation.

The film delivered good clarity. A few shots seemed a bit on the soft side, but those were mild. Most of the film looked concise and well-defined, however. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. I also failed to detect any source flaws.

In terms of colors, the movie featured a natural palette that favored a slight golden tone. Across the board, the hues looked positive. They showed nice clarity and breadth and came out well. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. I thought the movie consistently looked strong.

I thought that the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Campaign seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. Like most comedies, the movie featured a limited soundfield that favored the forward channels. It showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides.

Panning was decent, and the surrounds usually kicked in basic reinforcement. A few scenes opened up better, but not with much frequency. This meant that most of the movie stayed with restricted imaging, though that was fine, as it didn’t need much to fit the story.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion. Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed positive dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “B-“ but didn’t particularly impress.

Only a smattering of extras show up here, and we start with a collection of alternate takes under Line-O-Rama. It goes for four minutes, 23 seconds and lets us hear improv moments from Zach Galifianakis, Will Ferrell and others. I enjoy this kind of material and we find a lot of fun footage here.

Nine Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 15 minutes, 44 seconds. In these, we mostly get longer versions of existing scenes. We also see some alternate sequences; for instance, here Marty shoots Cam with a crossbow instead of with a shotgun.

Do we encounter any substantial cut scenes? Yup, but not many. The most significant shows a confrontation between Marty and Cam about the Motch Brothers. We also watch Marty campaign at the last minute, and there’s an alternate ending in which the Motch Brothers’ Chinese workers actually show up in Hammond. We also get a longer version of the post-credits segment in which the Motch Brothers get pulled before Congress. These are interesting but not especially good; in particular, the Chinese conclusion is a dud.

Finally, a Gag Reel goes for three minutes, 31 seconds. Some of this provides the usual goofs and giggles, but we get enough amusing improvised bits to create a good collection.

We can watch the movie two different ways. We get both the theatrical version (1:25:29) and an extended cut (1:35:39). By my calculation, nine scenes are elongated:

-Wattley redoes Marty’s house/image;

-Cam ignores the campaign to sit in a pool;

-Cam hits on a staffer pre-debate and then talks to his manager;

-Cam freaks out post-snake bite and revisits the family he “sex-called”;

-Cam comes to Marty’s to bond;

-Cam drives drunk, sees the press after his release from jail, discusses the local housing situation with his manager and runs into Wattley;

-Cam preps for and conducts a TV interview with Piers Morgan;

-Mitzi leaves after her affair.

Which version works better? Honestly, I think they’re about the same. None of this added 10 minutes or so notably improves the film, but the shots don’t hurt, either, and they offer some amusement. Both cuts entertain and seem virtually equivalent.

The disc opens with an ad for Bullet to the Head. No trailer for Campaign shows up here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of The Campaign. It delivers the theatrical cut of the film plus the deleted scenes.

While not a genuinely great comedy, The Campaign certainly qualifies as “very good”. The movie capitalizes on the strengths of its two stars and delivers a consistently amusing affair. The Blu-ray provides solid visuals and more than acceptable audio but lacks substantial supplements. Despite the lack of many bonus materials, I feel pleased with this release, as it brings us a nice representation of a funny flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.2307 Stars Number of Votes: 13
8 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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