Friday, June 26

Irresistible Review

Dir: Jon Stewart
Starring: Steve Carell, Mackenzie Davis, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Brent Sexton, and Topher Grace

Comedian Jon Stewart, at one point during his cable television tenure as the host of the “Daily Show”, was one of the most vocal political news correspondents and satirists during the 2000s. Stewart and the “Daily Show” team tackled everything from Presidential elections to small-town blunders with a combination of honesty and humor and many times a wealth of sarcasm. It seems the perfect combination of elements to craft a biting narrative about the sordid world of the electoral process which is the focus of Mr. Stewart’s second feature film “Irresistible”, an often maddening, sometimes funny, and on occasion completely out of touch comedy.

Gary Zimmer is a Democratic political strategist who worked on the Clinton campaign in 2016, the results were not in his favor and Gary has been looking for the next campaign scheme to get his party into the driver’s seat for the next election. The hope he is looking for comes from Deerlaken, Wisconsin in the way of a veteran named Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) whose impassioned speech about the rights for undocumented workers at his town meeting when viral on the internet. 

Gary understands that there is a disconnect with the Democratic party and middle America, Jack Hastings could be the solution of relatability and reliability as a Democrat contender for Mayor in Deerlaken. Gary brings the political campaign machine to the small town, in tow is major national attention and big-city money. It doesn’t take long for the opposing party affiliates to see Gary and Jack as a threat, they send their own consultant superego to Deerlaken in the form of Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne) to build a campaign to retain the Republican stronghold. 

There is a moment in the film when a political ad runs for Jack and all the familiar key elements are present; the patriotic music, the old red, white, and blue waving in the background, Jack positioned in a place of authority in the corner frame. The difference here is the image of a Democratic candidate firing a semi-automatic weapon in the forest, with the final sentiment being that very familiar “I approve of this message” look into the camera. It’s a rather comical moment that has the perfect mix of satire and sarcasm. There a few more moments just like this, along with a few perfect insights about the chaos of campaign strategy and the ridiculous money involved that give “Irresistible” some clever comedic crossovers with real-world concerns. 

Unfortunately, there are also quite a few moments when the film just doesn’t find the focus for its purpose. A misguided romantic subplot between Steve Carell and Mackenzie Davis encumbers the pacing and much of the political swings and jabs are surrendered for easy targets that lack the depth of the issue being handled. 

Steve Carell and Rose Byrne are great together here, many of their expletive-filled banters are hysterical. Chris Cooper is always reliable and here he does a fine job of being the everyman trying his best to please those around him while maintaining his moral compass. A great moment that takes place in a swanky New York City high-rise provides a nice visual representation of the process of procuring donations, it allows Cooper the opportunity to give a speech about wealth and the common man. 

“Irresistible” has enjoyable qualities that inevitably outweigh the complaints of this film not taking more chances with its comedic political punches. The cast is great and the story remains engaging because of the characters. While it may not feel in the same focused and charged vein as what Jon Stewart was doing during his “Daily Show” days, it’s still a fun and sometimes insightful look at the measures our country takes to find and support the perfect candidate. 

Monte’s Rating
3.00 out of 5.00

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