REVIEWS – The Campaign; Katy Perry: Part of Me

Vox Dei
Reviews by Vives Anunciacion
Published Inquirer Libre August 31, 2012

The Campaign
Jay Roach

The Campaign begins with these three important words: America, God, Freedom. Three words that almost guarantees any US politician who mention them incumbency. Here in the Philippines the equivalent would be Dios, Bayan, Pamilya. And yes, politicians here mention those words with impunity whether at the Senate, the barangay hall or the church pulpit. Mention those words and you’re automatically on the good side.

Will Ferrel’s latest comedy takes advantage of that idea and takes a dig at the US elections which of late has turned into a corrupt, cruel and sometimes outright bizarre show. Kind of like ours.

Ferrel plays Cam Brady, a re-electionist Democrat congressman in the traditionally Democratic-leaning state of North Carolina where he is running unopposed for his nth term. Brady’s campaign takes a nose-dive after an indiscretion is leaked publicly. This prompts big-business-interest billionaires to fund an unassuming, soft-spoken, born-to-wealth Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis) to run under the conservative Republican party and challenge Brady.

The comedy runs situation after situation where the experienced politician tries to out-politic the newbie, until the inner tiger in Huggins pushes Brady to the wall, up to the point where one can no longer distinguish which candidate deserves to earn the title Honorable.

I wouldn’t want to glorify this as a true satire, in the sense that The Campaign takes an absurdist approach to the mudslinging associated with dirty political campaigns, but doesn’t actually comment on real political issues that would provoke discussion. Ferrel and Galifianakis are game with their roles, but Dermott Mulroney is the third personality in the film as master manipulator and campaign manager extraordinaire Tim Wattley.

Gets my vote at portraying what we, non-Americans, already know: how laughable American politics has become. Like ours.

Katy Perry: Part of Me
Directed by Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz

Katy Perry also mentions God in her concert-docu Katy Perry: Part of Me. The show was so candy-colorful it hurt my eyes. Consider this a behind-the-scenes of her year-long concert tour and not a real bio-pic.

The big come-on to this show are her cheeky, colorful costumes and her catchy tunes most of which come from her album Teenage Dream. Intercut with her behind-the-stage preparations during her California Dreams tour in 2011 (the Manila stop isn’t in the movie) are snippets of how Katy began her career, her whirlwind romance with comedian Russell Brand, and the few people who have made her the international pop star that she is now.

Growing up as a daughter of a Pentecostal minister, Katy began singing in her church at a very young age and was pretty much sheltered (or limited) into church life and music until she turned 18 and heard Alanis Morisette’s Ought To Know. It’s the most revelatory bit in the entire show that one can deduce a lot about her evolution as woman and an artist. But she says she maintains a personal relationship with God.

It’s a must-see for Perry fans. The movie is an effective tool in marketing Perry as the artist who sings the anthems of the young generation. Just think of it as an extended music channel special. If you see it in 3D with good speakers, it may just feel like a concert altogether.

Now excuse me while I replay Firework in my music player.

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