IRRESISTIBLE (NETFLIX) (2020)
SYNOPSIS: From writer/director Jon Stewart comes the comedy of a Democrat political consultant (Carell) who helps a retired Marine colonel (Cooper) run for mayor in a small Wisconsin town.
It’s hard to appreciate a movie liked Irresistible especially if you are not a follower or fan of America politics. One of America’s famous comedian and political commentator Jon Stewart wrote and directs this comedy that struggles to be both educating and entertaining at the same time.
Steve Carell plays Gary Zimmer, a campaign consultant who decides to travel to rural Deerlaken, Wisconsin after a video about a certain retired Colonel Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) giving a rousing speech on undocumented immigration population went viral. Gary’s intention is to get Hastings elected as a Democrat in Deerlaken’s upcoming Mayor election hoping that Americans will vote for Democrat in the next Presidential election.
Gary soon finds himself facing the arrival of his arch nemesis, strategist Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne) who represents the Republican. With plenty of setbacks along the way including the lack of Wi-Fi, conservatism and shortage of funds, will Gary Zimmer win this round in the little right-wing town or succumb to his equally enthusiastic opponent?
For a satire, Irresistible lacks the cleverness and tongue-in-cheek to make things work. There’s the occasional amusing banter between Gary and Faith ironically mostly just forgettable low-brow humour. Then there’s the frustration faced by the campaign team liked stealing wi-fi from a nearby school to a data analytic report that went south. It’s all old-school humour and little to savour given the subject matter.
Comparing this to other political satires liked Vice and W, Stewart who always entertains with The Daily Show surprisingly lacks the bites and basically plays it so safe and sterile here that the little twist in the third act makes you wonder out loud “Is that it?”. We wish Stewart could poke fun at modern politics, the media circus and jab at how bad America is turning into. However, none of the stuff portrayed here is as remotely good or revelatory as his TV shows.
Even though Steve Carell’s character is more or less a selfish opportunistic jerk who hopes to make use of Hastings for a career comeback, he is still as likeable as always especially for fans who missed his presence in The Office. Rose Byrne is a hoot opposite Carell. The flick lights up every moment Faith Brewster turns bitchy in front of Gary.
For Irresistible to qualify as a political satire, we think it fails by a wide margin. It’s definitely not as smart or substance as we initially thought and the battle of the sexes trope mainly play for some cheap laughs.
Review by Linus Tee