Irresistible (Steve Carell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Mackenzie Davis) – The first big theatrical release since the pandemic began, Irresistible is supposedly a comedy from The Daily Shoiw’s Jon Stewart. I can confirm that it is definitely Jon Stewart’s film, but it is, marginally, a comedy. It is certainly a skewering of politics in the Trump age (and before) where money “trumps” everything, political consultants play a manipulation game, the media milks the ugly cow, and the American electorate is reduced to a series of demographics.
Stewart can’t help but make this movie a commentary rather than a comedy. He disguises his cynicism in a marginally amusing story about a local farmer, Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper in a role way below his talent), in a fictitious Wisconsin town who challenges the local mayor. Aided by the high-powered political consultant, Gary Zimmer (Steve Carell), that engineered the Hillary Clinton loss to Donald Trump, Hastings appears to be the real deal. But when the existing mayor hires Zimmer’s archenemy, Republican strategist Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne), supposedly the fun begins.
There are some funny scenes, but mostly the kind that make you smile but not laugh. The other characters are essentially your basic one-dimensional, small-town hicks. Or so it seems. In Stewart’s world, consumers are not quite as dumb and helpless as they seem; political operatives are slimy scumbags; and everything is about money. He is screaming THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN as if we didn’t already know that already.
The main problem here is that Stewart tried to do too much. He lures us in with trailers promising a relevant, roaring comedy while delivering a social commentary that is just not convincing enough. He should have made a documentary worthy of wide distribution. Even the actors seem restrained, knowing that the film is meant to be more commentary than entertainment. Finally, make sure you stick around for the credits since there are several “cookies,” both about the story and about our political system.