Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Campaign (2012) (And a bit of In the Loop)

So this was a more spur of the moment movie. I had been wanting to see Total Recall and especially The Bourne Legacy (I have a bit of a soft spot for The Avengers actors, heh; I just like seeing their movies), but hey, I went out and saw The Campaign instead.

I think the hardest thing to rate about this is that I'm a big fan of British and black comedy. (Black as in "dark," as in depressing. If you must know, I'm a big fan of Romanian comedies, for example. So when I say "comedy," I must admit that my sense of humor is a bit... Different.) Now the reason why I make note of that is that sometimes I have more trouble gauging American comedies, especially of this variety. Also, partly because I will always rank In the Loop as my top political comedy.

I've got to admit, a lot of the audience laughed at points. For not knowing who was in it, I was a bit happy to see John Lithgow in it, or "Kenny" (Jack McBrayer from 30 Rock). Overall, it sort of... It happened, to put it that way. It was a movie and I was watching it. I pretty much had the same feelings as when I watched The Dictator.

It's a little hard to really say much on the movie. Maybe if I was a bigger Will Ferrell fan, I'd enjoy it more? Maybe if I was more into American comedies like this, I'd also enjoy it more. I don't know. The dialogue didn't always intrigue me. Or perhaps, a lot of it didn't. Again, I can't tell if I'm unfairly thinking of In the Loop, because the dialogue was just a constant stream of amazing, while here, it was crude and rather disjointed. The movie was trying to juggle different things--the story, the comedy, even trying to make us feel for the characters or care what happens to them. The problem is, however, it felt more like a switch--comedy on, comedy off. There were precise moments in which we are specifically supposed to say "ah, I care about him!" And this is where I compare it to In the Loop. We care about Simon Foster because of his bumbly-ness, or how horrifying this entire situation is. Later, he tells us, in a moment of complete despair: "a distant voice in the back of my head goes 'oh shit' like a car alarm in the middle of the night." No matter what's happening, we can always feel what the characters are emoting. Malcolm is angry, frustrated, rushed--of course, this makes sense, he is, in general, a very angry human being, but Simon gets flustered and confused. He's all bumbly and completely means well. They're all humans. And they're hilarious.

With The Campaign, I can't really think of many great moments as I can in In the Loop. Or perhaps, I can't think of great moments. There was no major one liners or fantastic impacting moments. I did sort of enjoy Karen Marumaya, but in part, she was rather dripping with sarcasm and her scenes were fairly small. I also felt that John Lithgow was a little wasted as an actor. He's a wonderful actor, but his role was a little too bland. Lithgow, as we've seen now from both 3rd Rock from the Sun and Dexter, he can be great in a comedic or villainous role.

Overall, The Campaign was a little punchy. "Laugh," and "Feel touched." "Feel sad now." "Laugh again." Sort of big neon signs saying "this is going to be funny," rather than having each moment flow well, each character feel real. When jokes are made in comedies, I rather it feel more natural to what's happening, rather than punching me in the face.

If I had to rate this, I'd say maybe 2 1/2 stars out of 5.

1 comment:

Dan O. said...

It has the perfect opportunity to be a biting satire, but just ends up playing it safe and going down the route of a goofy comedy. No problem with that, but the comedy isn’t as funny as I would have liked to hope. Good review L.K.