Irresistible: Film Review


Jon Stewart was known for voicing his opinions about U.S. politics when he used to be the host of The Daily Show, so it’s no surprise he has turned to politics for the subject of his latest directorial effort, Irresistible.

Irresistible, also written by Stewart, stars Steve Carrell as Gary Zimmer, a Democratic political strategist still reeling from Hillary Clinton’s shock defeat against Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. He discovers a viral speech given by Colonel Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper), a local farmer in Deerlaken, Wisconsin, and goes out there to convince him to run for mayor in a town which has been Republican for years. They create enough noise that Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne), his rival political strategist, arrives in town to derail the campaign.

If you don’t know much about U.S. politics, Irresistible is pretty easy to watch and understand, but it will probably have more of a pointed, witty edge if you get it. The satire is fairly subtle in places (to my unknowing eyes) but Stewart really hammers it home towards the end, making it perfectly clear how he feels about the campaign finance system, media pundits, and how much money each party plough into getting a candidate elected. The twist ending, which completely changes everything, drives this point home a bit too much and feels preachy and didn’t make complete sense to me so I felt deflated by it.

Irresistible still made me laugh quite a bit. I personally enjoyed Carell’s attempts to fit into a small middle America town when he’s used to the high life in DC and his petty, explicit encounters with his adversary. Carell is given a more rounded, sympathetic character, who is fighting for the greater good of the town, while Byrne is stuck playing a caricature-style Republican with hardly any characterisation, so Stewart makes his political leanings pretty obvious.

Byrne was fabulously bitchy and catty and I enjoyed her exchanges with Carell, who was funny but not quite as on fire as he can be, but that’s probably down the material. Cooper, who was excellent recently in Little Women, puts in another top performance as the Colonel who just wants to save his town and isn’t on board with all the campaign BS. Mackenzie Davis starts off with little to do but thankfully gets more as it progresses – I particularly loved her and Carell’s riff on Michelle Obama‘s famous catchphrase “When they go low, we go high” – while Topher Grace and Natasha Lyonne are seriously underused as campaign staffers.

Irresistible may not be as funny or ridiculous as the real-life goings-on in the White House this year, but I still enjoyed it and I learned something.

Available to rent at home from Friday 26th June 

Rating: 3.5/5

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