The United States’ warped political system is the focus of Jon Stewart’s 2020 comedy, Irresistible. Steve Carrell stars as washed-up D.C. Democratic political consultant Gary Zimmer who’s still trying to recover from his failure to help Hilary Clinton become the first woman U.S. President. When he’s shown a viral video of former Marine Colonel Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper), a widowed farmer in Wisconsin, defending the rights of undocumented workers at a town hall meeting, Gary believes he’s found the perfect candidate to strengthen the Democratic party.
Gary flies off to Deerlaken, Wisconsin, a town that’s teetering on the brink of economic ruin, to try to convince Hastings to run for mayor. Hastings is reluctant at first but ultimately agrees to run if Gary personally runs his campaign. Gary agrees and recruits as many local supporters as he can, including Jack’s loyal and loving daughter Diana (Mackenzie Davis), to volunteer to work to get Hastings elected as the town’s new mayor.
However, it’s not long before the local political race becomes national news and brings Gary’s nemesis, cut-throat Republican consultant Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne), to town to get the incumbent reelected. The two consultants begin to turn what was just a simple small-town race into an out-of-control, pull-no-punches fight.
Written and directed by Jon Stewart, Irresistible is an out-of-touch political satire that has zero laughs and wastes the talents of a strong cast. The film’s message about America’s electoral system depending far too much on money, polls, and skewed press coverage, is dated and hardly groundbreaking. It doesn’t help that we’re all suffering from politics fatigue at this point.
Steve Carrell returns to his comedy roots and delivers an all-too-familiar performance as Gary Zimmer, a character reminiscent of Carell’s Michael Scott in The Office. The only difference between the two is Zimmer is a political consultant instead of an office manager.
Rose Byrne is effective as the merciless Faith Brewster who’s hell-bent on beating Zimmer as well as bedding him. Unfortunately, the scenes between Byrne and Carrell fail due to the absence of sexual tension.
Chris Cooper delivers a low-key performance as Hastings, the former Marine Colonel and farmer interested in helping to save his dying town. Sadly, Cooper isn’t given much to do in the film except to stand around and represent the classic, solid, decent, quiet American Midwest farmer who might be in over his head in the political arena. It’s an absolute waste of an extremely talented actor.
Irresistible isn’t as funny as it is forgettable. This political satire fails to bring to the spotlight anything new or relevant in today’s political climate. It’s a total missed opportunity.
MPAA Rating: R for language including sexual references
Running Time: 101 minutes
Release Date: June 26, 2020
Written & Directed By: Jon Stewart
Studio: Focus Features