The Campaign is a movie that I had very high expectations going into. The cast--Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd--is an all-star team. The premise--a frat boy congressman campaigning against a small-town doofus against the backdrop of everything that's wrong with politics--seemed like a home run. All the ingredients were there for this movie to be the next great comedy. Sadly though, it never comes together, and the movie never delivers on it's potential.
If you've seen the trailer for The Campaign, you've pretty much already seen the funniest parts of the movie. Don't get me wrong--Ferrell and Galifianakis both play their roles well, and there are plenty of chuckles along the way. But the laugh out loud, doubled over in pain moments that I had during Anchorman, Step Brothers, the first Ace Ventura or Dumb and Dumber just aren't there. The political humor is all about the low-hanging fruit, and there's not real skewering of the current state of politics in our country. The characters never really go beyond their superficial stereotypes, so it's hard to really care about them. And the supporting cast isn't given very much to do (especially Sudeikis, who is almost invisible), so all the humor is based around Ferrell and Galifianakis, and it's gets old after awhile. The story is extremely predicatable, and there's never a moment where you don't see where it's going, so I found myself just counting the minutes in between some of the bigger laughs, which there were way too many of.
Here's the thing, though--I cannot judge a Will Ferrell movie objectively anymore. Because he has starred in at least two of my all-time favorite funny movies, I expect nothing less than genius every time I see him. And that's really not fair. The Campaign is probably the funniest movie of the summer--I can't think of one that's funnier. It may be the funniest movie since Hangover 2. But for me, the more Will Ferrell movies I see, the more I think he's never going to top Anchorman and Step Brothers.
I'm not putting a rating on this one, as I'm clearly biased. I would recommend people seeing The Campaign, but if you're a diehard Ferrell fan, temper your expectations.