Comedian-actor-director Jon Stewart’s latest film is a timely satirical comedy set within the murky world of US election campaigns. Starring Steve Carell, Chris Cooper and Rose Byrne, Irresistible follows a Democratic party strategist who tries to help a retired veteran from a small town get elected as its new mayor.
Still licking his words from the defeat of his candidate Hillary Clinton at the 2016 presidential elections, political strategist Gary Zimmer (Carell) sets his eye on a new exciting venture. When a retired Marine colonel from a small right wing town in Wisconsin goes viral after standing up to his republican mayor, Gary see in him the new “Joe The Plumber”, a man of the people prepared to stand up for what is right. Soon Gary takes it upon himself to get him to run for the Democrats and against the incumbant Republican mayor.
Hilarity ensues when a whole team of high-flying DC strategists and spin doctors descend on the town with money to burn and very little regard for the people they aim to represent. And if that wasn’t enough of a circus, Gary soon finds himself once again face to face with his deadly rival from the other side, the feisty and hugely competitive Faith Brewster (a fantastic turn by Rose Byrne) who sees this as an opportunity to defeat Gary once again.
Those familiar with Stewart’s earlier work on the brilliant satirical TV show The Daily Show will recognise his own brand of silly antic mixed with serious political discourse. Here he offers a flawed yet hugely engaging story about the sometimes preposterous lengths some strategists will go to get their man or woman elected.
This being an election year, Irresistable can sometimes feel somewhat of an uncomfortable watch, especially if you are in the “anyone but Trump” camp. Having seen how the last l election turned out, there is a certain degree of nervousness attached to any production trying to broach this kind of subject in a non binary way.
Stewart not only explains in his own satirical way why things need to change, he also does it in an impressively self-aware fashion. There are no big heartfelt epiphanies here, just pure unadulterated cynicism and a huge dose of humour for good measure.
While Stewart’s heart is certainly in the right place, his film is perhaps almost too clever and nuanced for the current climate. In a year where discourse has been reduced to a “them against us” discussion, and with good reason, it’s kinda hard to find the time to criticise those who are simply trying to get the best and most honest people elected.
Overall, this is a solid offering from Stewart et all. It is smart, funny and goes exactly where you didn’t expect it to go. A genuinely thought-provoking piece of satire which hits way more than it misses.