If you’re looking for biting political satire, The Campaign is really more of a nibble. The election season comedy from director Jay Roach stars Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis in a congressional race for North Carolina’s 14th district. With questionable financial backing from the mustache twirling Motch brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd), Galifianakis’ squishy, swishy Marty Huggins challenges the incumbent Cam Brady in an unlikely race that highlights the broadest strokes of good versus evil in the political sphere.

Galifianakis and Ferrell are well matched here, and they bring big laughs almost entirely throughout. The film lags in the middle, about two thirds of the way in when characters face their “dark night of the soul moment.” It’s there that the pacing slows and the laughs come fewer and further between. But for the most part, The Campaign plays like a series of well paced comedy sketches featuring an ensemble cast of great characters.

Besides for the Motch brothers – obvious stand ins for the real life Koch Borthers – with the reliably fantastic Lithgow and Aykroyd settling comfortably into their leather chairs and expensive suits, Dylan McDermott skulks around as a shadowy figure of a campaign manager. His Tim Wattley is hired by the Motch Brothers to turn Huggins into a deer-shooting, golden retriever loving, scotch drinking republican that voters can get behind. He shows up in back seats and kitchen breakfast nooks at the most inopportune times, a reliably funny sight gag.

Jason Sudeikis, always a pleasure, is the ideal straight man to Ferrell’s Cam Brady, serving as his campaign manager. Thomas Middleditch as Marty’s day job sidekick, is underutilized but always hilarious, with a face like a John Kricfalusi cartoon that everyone should want to see more of.

Ferrell seems comfortable here, playing a slightly drunker, raunchier, blown out version of his George W. Bush. He really shines when he’s allowed to just go off on a tangent – in moments of rage or facing abject failure, at his drunkest or most defeated. This is the Will Ferrell who dominated so many Saturday Night Lives.

Galifianakis imbues his Marty Huggins with a down-to-earth likability, tweaking the wispy southern drawl he’s used before in Due Date, amongst others. He succeeds in creating a character that can carry a movie, challenging Cam Brady’s caricature of corruption with someone who’s actually got some heart buried under his grandma sweaters and armful of pugs.

There are moments when The Campaign opts for the gratuitous, over the top style comedy that the frat pack is known for rather than a more subtle and therefore more effective commentary on the political process. When Cam Brady accidentally punches a baby and the audience is afforded an up-close, slow-motion view of fist hitting face. The creepy special effects here hinder rather than help the gag.

The Campaign doesn’t add anything groundbreaking to the pantheon of political comedy; There’s more edgy commentary weeknights on Comedy Central. But it’s a solid Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis movie that makes for an enjoyable afternoon.