This R-rated comedy has just the right amount of sleazy one-liners, selfish motives and viral sex tapes to feel like a real election. Art unfortunately imitates life in this political satire for which both red and blue states will vote “yes.”
The movie opens with a quote from irreverent former presidential candidate Ross Perot: “War has rules, mud wrestling has rules — politics has no rules.”
Indeed, a perfectly themed political satire just in time for the Obama/Romney showdown. Set in a congressional district in North Carolina, Will Ferrell plays incumbent Cam Brady as sort of a sexed-up George W. Bush, who enjoys hooking up with skanky campaign volunteers in a Porta-Potty©.
Zach Galifianakis plays Marty Huggins, a “family man” with about as much machismo as Marcus Bachmann. Huggins’ own father, played by Brian Cox, says his son looks like “Richard Simmons crapped out a hobbit.”
Clearly intended to resemble the Koch brothers, billionaire Motch brothers — played by Dan Aykroyd and the beloved John Lithgow — get behind Huggins and send him slick campaign manager Tim Wattley, played by a too-school-for-cool Dylan McDermott. Wattley makes-over Huggins’ home and replaces his “Commie” dogs with bandana-clad “American” dogs named Sergeant and Scout.
Once the race for Congressman begins, so do the shenanigans. Cam Brady accidentally punches a baby in a hilarious slow-motion shot (moms, be warned) as well as punches the dog from the Oscar-winning film The Artist. Huggins shoots Brady in a planned hunting accident for sleeping with his wife and gets a bump in the poles. Brady takes up serpents to prove his soul is pure and you can probably guess what happens.
Will Ferrell is at his best when he parodies politicians and dazzles with his goofy smile and John Edwards hair/libido. Galifianakis gives dimension to a man whose nickname is “Giggle-Sh**s” and never goes too broad. Supporting the comedy is Jason Sudeikis, playing Ferrell’s campaign manager, who grounds Ferrell’s slapstick by putting his antics into context and even graphs.
Bottom line: This clever yet very physical comedy is for adults who like to laugh and should be seen by anyone who’s sick of real-life politicians who do ridiculous things like text photos of their penis. At least during the movie, we can chuckle about it.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.