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Irresistible Movie Review

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Written and directed by Jon Stewart, Irresistible is a comedy centered around the never ending game of modern politics. The film takes place in a small broken town in Wisconsin where a famous Democratic strategist from DC named Gary Zimmer (Steve Carrell) gets involved in a local Mayoral election. Gary’s interest is peaked by a viral video of a council meeting where a former army general speaks up for the rights of the immigrant population in this small town. He sees this as a way to inspire democratic values in this conservative area of the country, and also vet this candidate for a possible future in bigger political offices. Once the rest of DC gets word of Gary’s involvement in this small local election, the Republican conservatives send Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne) to support the opposing candidate. You find out that Gary and Rose have a history of political competition and their rivalry is the bane of each other’s existence, but they also thrive on the thrill of the contest.

Rose Byrne stars as Faith Brewster and Steve Carell as Gary Zimmer in IRRESISTIBLE, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Daniel McFadden / Focus Features

The subject of the film is something that we’re all too familiar with these days. We’re constantly berated with political commentary on basically every subject of news that we are able to access nowadays. Both sides playing this cat and mouse game, creating this world of chaos and division, to further their own DC agenda without putting the real needs of the people first. Irresistible is a slap stick embodiment of this nasty game. One of the biggest themes of this movie is the way that DC intellectuals pander political ideals to the general population of the country. Steve Carrell’s character treats every interaction like a political mind game where he thinks he’s adapting to his environment to seem more relatable with the people in this small town, when in reality he sticks out like a sore thumb. Rose Byrne’s character is only there to torment Steve Carrell by furthering the lying rhetoric of conservative ideals. The film focuses on the ugliness of modern American politics in a light hearted, mostly fun manner. 

In my opinion, Rose Byrne shines the brightest in this film. She is absolutely hysterical as Faith Brewster; the lying, manipulative, conservative strategist. Her and Carrell have great chemistry and they play off each other quite well. Rose in my opinion steals most of the thunder and Carrell does well at elevating the scenes to allow Rose to stand out and get the most laughs. I don’t think this movie would be any good if these two didn’t carry the weight of the film on their backs. The story is pretty simple and the supporting characters aren’t very interesting, but Steve Carrell and Rose Byrne are, which allows you to forget about the other aspects. I didn’t understand what the film was trying to go for until the very end. I really enjoyed the way the film wraps up. I’m not going to provide any spoilers, but if you give this film a chance, the payoff at the end is worth the rest of it. 

Director Jon Stewart on the set of his film IRRESISTIBLE, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Daniel McFadden / Focus Features

I had a problem with the way the filmmakers pander political ideas to the audience. Instead of using subtext to convey their message, the characters pretty much spell everything out so there’s not a whole lot left to interpretation. I tend to enjoy films that allow the viewer to make their own judgements rather than having the film explain everything in detail what they were trying to say. At the same time, the point of the film is the way that modern day politics pander their ideals to the general public so it almost feels like this might have been Jon Stewart’s intention all along. Never the less, all the interactions between the characters felt one-dimensional which in turn made some of the jokes fall flat for me. There were still some fun comedic scenes which allowed for some pleasing laugh out loud moments too. I wish there had been a little more character development. The characters didn’t seem to change or go through any inner turmoil, they all turn out in the end at basically the same point in which they started. There’s not a whole lot to be said about the technical aspects of the film. The cinematography, set design and editing are all pretty average. Nothing particularly stood out as exceeding expectations. 

As we enter one of the most dramatic elections of modern day history, it’s important to laugh ourselves and point out the ridiculousness of how “the game” is played. Hopefully with everything going on we are able to, as a country, step back and re-evaluate what our true values are. As one of the most important political comedians of our time, I hope Jon Stewart continues down this path and is able to create more films. Even though Irresistible isn’t a home-run by any means, I still had a good time and I hope you will too. 

Movie Info        SCORE
DIRECTOR:Jon Stewart
STUDIO:Focus Features
GENRE:Comedy, Drama
MPAA:R
RELEASE DATE:June 26, 2020
AUTHOR:Curt Cook
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