Smarmy and unscrupulous congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) is the ideal pawn for bigwig CEOs, the Motch brothers (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow), to use in their plans to sell out North Carolina to the Chinese. That is until one outrageous scandal sees Brady slipping in the polls, forcing them to draft the loveable town dag Monty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis) to be the next frontrunner. What follows is an onslaught of mudslinging and dirty tricks that would put the most despicable of pollies to shame. Eventually something’s gotta give and in this case, the one-upmanship gags start to feel a bit repetitive. However, even with the recurring jokes and predictable moments, this political satire is good rollicking fun. Ferrell is an old hat when it comes to portraying dodgy and daft politicians and there’s definitely a bit of his Saturday Night Live George Bush impersonation shining through his Brady. And after the Hangover films, it’s refreshing to see Galifianakis play victimised instead of victimiser. Directed by Jay Roach who brought to the screen gems including the Austin Powers trilogy and political drama Game Change, this film delivers funny, fairly well-rounded characters, a slew of great cameos and hilarious I-feel-naughty-for-laughing-at-that jokes while also making an almost poignant point about modern-day politics in the USA. Democrat or Republican – in the end it comes down to who’s got the money. The politically incorrect jokes are sure to ruffle a few American feathers, while the filmmakers laugh their way to the bank.

Verdict: Three and a half stars

Good for: Adding a little joy to an average hump day or hangover Sunday

Published in TNT Downunder Magazine online and in print on August 14, 2012


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