With very little being released in cinemas this weekend we decided to return to a film released a few weeks ago, one that the cast list alone had got us excited about. Let's face it a film that headlines Will Ferrell Vs Zach Galifianakis doing battle via politics can only mean a hilariously funny comedy filled with re-quotable lines and the begging of a sequel in years to come, well that certainly isn't the case. An incredible premise, that although not original, mixed with the perfect comedy cast is let down by a weak regurgitating plot and unenthusiastic direction. Oh what could have been for this film, the Anchorman style comedy you may have been expecting really isn't ever on show.
Will Ferrell stars as Cam Brady, a Congressman in a Northern Carolina district who is about to be re-elected for his fourth term because no one wishes to run against him. That is until in a late night drunken call to a wrong number, Mr Brady leaves an explicit message meant for his girlfriend on a devout Christian family's answering phone. Smelling weakness for the first time in years a mega wealthy pair of brothers, the Motch Brothers, decide to fund an unknown to run against Brady so they can use the district to open a factory run by the Chinese in order to cut shipping costs for products from China. Their man to run against, Marty Huggins (Galifianakis), a local tourist guide who has very little ambition to become a politician but more so to impress his Daddy. As Huggins political campaign gets going he is allocated a mentor who has him throw out any foreign influences in his life, including his two cute pug dogs, and make him into a typical American family in order to gain the backing of the public. And then they are off, doing battle in every sense of the word to gain the most votes before Election Day. We have trash talk at a debate, snake handling at a religious event, baby kissing during a tour, and rifle shooting in the woods, all in order to gain the upper edge to control this state.
The set up of the film really feels like it could go places. Two heavyweight comedians doing battle on one of the most corrupt circuits should spell comedy gold but the problem is it never really takes us beyond a little chuckle. There are some great moments, the phone call to the religious family is hilarious, the baby punching followed by dog punching is something new we haven't seen before, and if it wasn't for the trailer ruining it the recital of the Lord's Prayer could have you giggling but other than this the comedy is too and far between with the plot going down a route of self awareness and people being willing to 'do the right thing'. It is as if the film decides to take itself too seriously by the end, instead of delivering on its promise of an outrageous comedy. It all becomes slightly repetitive. It is literally the two candidates doing all they can to top the other but none of it is that outrageous that we are glued to watching it. At times it becomes a little boring, which is not a word you expect to be associated with a film pitting Ron Burgundy against Alan from The Hangover.
The direction could be an issue with that as it seems like Galifianakis has been asked to reign in his usual crazy approach. Ferrell brings his usual proceedings to his character of Brady and from what could have been his next memorable character alongside Burgundy, Ricky Bobby, and Frank the Tank, turns out to be a flat boring character that we can never care about or laugh along with. The direction has stripped these actors back from being their usual outrageous personas and we never really get a film about them and instead something that is more giving a message to the affairs within American politics today. What I'm sure most people would have rather seen is these two going head to head in some of the most mental situations you could expect from them. I mean come on these are two comedy geniuses who have either run the streets naked or masturbated in the back of a car in order to gain a laugh and none of this kind of antic is on show here which actually makes this a really forgettable film.
I have to say I left the cinema rather underwhelmed and fairly disappointed. It did have its moments but, other than one or two situations near the beginning, it never really got going. All the talent on show from Ferrell to Sudeikis to Galafianakis to Jay Roach (director of films like Austin Powers and Meet The Parents) have all performed much much better elsewhere and the simple premise plus the stars on show never lives up to the potential it could have had. If you want to see Ferrell at his best rent Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Stepbrothers, or Old School because you really won't have missed out if you give this film a miss.
Pros: A few funny moments but....
Cons: ....should have been much better.
5.5 / 10
Top 10 of 2012 so far:
1. The Dark Knight Rises 10 / 10
2. The Hunger Games 8 / 10
3. Snow White And The Huntsman 8 / 10
4. Avengers Assemble 7.5 / 10
5. Looper 7.5 / 10
6. Ted 7.5 / 10
7. 21 Jump Street 7.5 / 10
8. Lawless 7 / 10
9. The Expendables 2 7 / 10
10. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol 7 / 10