The great genius of Will Ferrell is his capacity for embodying pompous, privileged blowhards in movies that critique them and gives them opportunities to grow — his actorly portfolio is one in which almost no one is irredeemable. In the past, he’s done this with sexist news anchors in the 1970s and NASCAR drivers in our own day. And now he’s taking on some of the most cosseted, self-important people in America: our politicians. What looks great about The Campaign is how squarely it’s aimed at the practices of the modern election, rather than at voters or democracy itself:
It’s all there: the John Edwards-like obsession with looks, the conviction that the candidate must be at the center of attention even in the aftermath of his own gaffe (or, okay, baby-punching), the pablum of pander. To my knowledge, no existing American politician has declared that “Filipino Tilt-a-Whirl Operators are this nation’s backbone,” but I eagerly await the day when one does. The Campaign looks to be the inverse of Parks and Recreation — hopefully it’ll help us bide time until that noble pean to the best in American politics returns to the air.