First Hit: It was very funny at times while at other times reflectively poignant of our political process.
Cam Brady (played by Will Ferrell) is a multi-elected congressman who does little in congress but loves being a member. He’s running unopposed until two wealthy businessmen Glenn and Wade Motch (played by John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd respectively) decide they want some influence in congress so that they can build a new factory in Brady's congressional district.
The kicker is that the workers will be imported from China at very low wages. It is what they call "insourcing". They select the younger odd-ball son of Raymond Huggins (played by Brian Cox) Marty (Zach Galifianakis) who they think they can easily manipulate.
Marty gives tours of his home town for a living but he’s always wanted to be seen as someone more than this, especially by his father. To assist Marty, Glenn and Wade hire a take no prisoners campaign manager Tim Wattley (played by Dylan McDermott). With Tim’s guidance, Marty becomes ruthless in his quest to win the election.
Cam is and becomes more of what most people don’t like about politicians, untruthful, unfaithful, scheming, and willing to do anything, including airing manipulative television commercials, to win. Marty is meeting him punch for punch, but learns the lesson sooner than Cam that he has to live with himself and in the final day of the campaign decides to promote telling the truth, the real truth.
The parallels to the real election process are astonishing and with our country in election mode, this film is timely. One very nice touch is having real and famous newsmen be part of the script. They are used to announce the latest news from the campaign.
Lastly, showing how both wives can and are affected by the power of publicity was very good.
Ferrell, although not my favorite actor, is pretty good in this role. Although too much Will Farrell and less of his character at times, he does carry this role, enough for the audience to see our election stupidity. Galifianakis is good but also stuck in a type casting of the same kind of person he’s played in other films. Fortunately it works here. Lithgow and Aykroyd are great as rich manipulators who point fingers at each other in front of a congressional hearing. McDermott was very amusing as the dark hired hand to make Marty a winner. Cox is great as Marty’s overly stuffed and arrogant father. Shawn Harwell and Chris Henchy must have had a lot of fun writing this script knowing this film would air during an election year. Jay Roach did a very good job of bringing poignant humor and truth by showing us the absurdity of our election process.
Overall: This was an enjoyable film with some interesting likenesses to our current election.