2012 Running time: 82 Certificate: 15 Rating: 3

Synopsis

Incumbent North Carolina Congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) finally meets his match when a couple of unscrupulous businessmen challenge his safe seat by backing local tourism officer Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis). Dirty tricks abound as Cam, a womanising slob, and Marty - a challenger only too happy to be corrupted by underhand stunts - go head-to-head in a rough'n'rowdy battle of the polls. Opting for broad comedy rather than sharp satire, director Jay Roach has a fine old time lampooning America's corrupted election system.

Director

  • Jay Roach

Cast

  • Will Ferrell

  • Zach Galifianakis

  • Jason Sudeikis

  • Dylan McDermott

  • Katherine LaNasa

Review

When North Carolina congressman Cam Brady (Ferrell) punches a baby rather than kissing it he knows that his bid for re-election is in deep trouble.

After coasting unchallenged for years, he wasn't initially over-concerned when local tourism officer Marty Huggins (Galifianakis) - a camp dog-lover with a family-sized family - threw his hat in the ring.

However, Huggins, a placeman propelled into the contest by a couple of slimy industrialists who want their hands on land in his constituency, is being groomed for the challenge by machiavellian PR man Dylan McDermott.

And Cam quickly learns that there's a real fight on and he can't count on support from his flightly wife Rose (LaNasa) or even his kids or campaign manager Mitch (Jason Sudeikis).

Eschewing the surgical satirical precision of Veep, this fires off crude broadsides against the telling-the-people-what-they-want-to-hear populist policy of politicians cravenly beholden to corporate interests.

Ferrell is on fine form as Cam, a consummately groomed rotter perfectly in sync with a world where sleaze can be turned to political advantage with granite-jawed infotainment on local TV.

Galifianakis' Marty could probably have done with being a little less camp but there's plenty of comedy mileage as he morphs from innocent abroad to a vote-winning stragegist mired in petty treachery.

This hits enough targets - cynical emotional manipulation, false family values and shallow style over content - to win over floating voters.

The funniest thing about it is that you can't tell the Democrat from the Republican.