The ultimate testament to Will Ferrell‘s talent is that even his forgotten films tend to be well-liked by many viewers. When most people are asked to name a Will Ferrell movie, they’ll usually say Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Step Brothers, or Elf. However, right now, a forgotten Ferrel comedy is shooting up the streaming charts.
According to FlixPatrol, The Campaign is currently the 5th most popular film on Hulu and the 71st most popular film on HBO. First released in 2012, The Campaign was directed by Jay Roach and written by Shawn Harwell and Chris Henchy. It sees Ferrel once again team up with long-time comedy compatriot Zach Galifianakis.
The Campaign follows Cam Brady (played by Will Ferrell,) the Democratic Congressman for North Carolina’s 14th District. Election season is coming up, and Cam isn’t worried as he has run unopposed the previous four elections. However, when Cam’s affair with a supporter becomes public knowledge, it seems that public opinion might be turning against him. Sensing this might be the moment to bring him down, Glenn and Wade Motch, two corrupt businessmen (played by comedy legends Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow,) convince tourism director Marty Huggins (played by Galifianakis) to run against Cam as a Republican.
This leads to one of the most intense and silly campaigns in memory as both men try every dirty trick in the book to get themselves ahead in the polls. Leading to all of the classic Will Ferrell chaos and slapstick you would expect. As well as some attempts at genuinely emotional moments and a sprinkling of political satire.
When it was released, the film performed better than expected. Earning $104.9 million worldwide at the box office. Critics had mixed opinions of the film, and it currently has a 66% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics praised the film’s humor and noted that Galifianakis and Ferrell have fantastic on-screen chemistry, which elevated even the most basic and overdone jokes. They also praised the film’s absurd sequences, saying they have all the energy and surrealism you would expect from Ferrell.
However, other critics argued that many of the film’s jokes fell flat and that the satire lacked the bite it needed to make an impact, especially in an election year. Others felt that the film was attempting to play it safe to not offend either side of the political divide, which made the movie a little too cliché and self-conscious. Viewers were harsher on the film than critics, and the film only has a 51% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Many user reviews argue that while the film is okay, they expected better from Ferrel and that, if they wanted to watch a Will Ferrell comedy, they would choose one of his other, more well-known films.
The Campaign is a funny film that contains all of Will Ferrell‘s hallmarks, including his anarchic charm. If you’re looking for a fun comedy and you’ve already seen all of Ferrell’s other films, The Campaign will give you the laughs you’re after.