Abortions For Some, Miniature American Flags For Others!

Letter grades aren't always the best benchmark of quality, but are a handy summary of how a particular pop culture project strikes me. When that project is a drama, it can be difficult to settle on that final letter, because some aspects may have worked well, while others fell flat: Perhaps it's well-acted, but the plot is a slog. Or maybe it's got a terrific concept, but causes my suspension of disbelief to snap. Dramas are complicated creatures. When it comes to comedy, it's a lot easier to assign a stamp of quality, because there's always the overarching criterion of whether or not it makes me laugh. Not that comedies can't have complex layers - they surely can - but if it's not funny, it's clearly failed on some level.

A friend of mine and I were looking to get out and do something last week, and settled on an evening showing of The Campaign. Both Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis are reliably funny, and the time is certainly ripe for an absurdist satire of the American political system, so I was surprised that this movie didn't make more of a splash when it was released. I hadn't heard anyone discussing it, and the audience was sparse for a Friday night. As we watched the movie, I realized why it had landed so quietly - it was fine. Not great, not terrible. Just fine.

Ferrell is fine as a vacuous, over-sexed Democratic incumbent. Galifianakis is fine as an effeminate, Republican upstart desperate to win his father's approval. The rest of the actors are fine. The storyline is fine. Fine, fine, fine. Nothing much stood out. There were some bright spots, of course. I got two big belly laughs and several small chuckles out of this movie, but that's just not enough to fill an hour and a half. I wouldn't call this a bad movie, and I'm not sorry I saw it, but a year from now, I doubt I'll remember much about it. And that's fine.

The Campaign: C+


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