Irresistible

 

starhalf

 


A film worthy of an entirely different adjective.

   
Irresistible

Now it's personal: Steve Carell and Rose Byrne

  

Effective political satire utilises comedy to call attention to ineffective legislature and leadership within complex systems of governance. Comedy is a particularly strong means of bringing awareness to such concerns, as the very nature of comedy turns a spotlight onto the absurdities of daily life and society. Among the best examples in cinema are films such as Duck Soup, The Great Dictator and Dr Strangelove, all successfully demonstrating through dark comedy the ways in which money, power, and personal interest influence the political sphere. Jon Stewart, an icon of American political humour and former host of TV’s The Daily Show, shifts his political satire focus to film with the on-demand premiere of Irresistible.

 

Stewart made his feature debut as a writer/director in 2014 with Rosewater, a serious film addressing a true story that evolved from an interview on The Daily Show with Canadian-Iranian Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari. Stewart returns to his comedy roots here with his second politically-minded feature.

 

When dejected Democratic political consultant Gary Zimmer (Steve Carell) encounters a viral video of a Marine colonel (Chris Cooper) passionately confronting the Republican mayor of his rural Wisconsin town, he sets out to make Colonel Hastings the viable Democratic competitor of the upcoming mayoral election. Along the way he is confronted with Faith (Rose Byrne), a ruthless Republican campaign manager who arrives to crush Gary and ensure a Republican re-election.

 

Although there are some serious issues raised about the American political system, Stewart’s sensibility doesn’t land them. The sheer absence of laughs leaves the film creeping along with underdeveloped characters and little at stake. The talented cast, many of whom are brilliant comedians in their own right, have little to work with. The people of Deerlaken come across as caricatures of ignorant country bumpkins for the majority of the film, with nothing better to do than assist Zimmer at every turn and hand out free baked goods. The depiction of America’s heartland thus rings as contrived and backwards as the political pageantry that descends upon it. With unlikable ‘D.C. elites’ in the lead, when the film’s major revelation finally arrives, it’s not enough to provoke pause or deep thought on either side of the aisle.         

 

CHAD KENNERK

 

Cast: Steve Carell, Chris Cooper, Mackenzie Davis, Topher Grace, Natasha Lyonne, Rose Byrne, Brent Sexton, Will Sasso, Bruce Altman, Bill Irwin.

 

Dir Jon Stewart, Pro Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Jon Stewart and Lila Yacoub, Screenplay Jon Stewart, Ph Bobby Bukowski, Pro Des Grace Yun, Ed Jay Rabinowitz and Mike Selemon, Music Bryce Dessner, Costumes Alex Bovaird.

 

Plan B Entertainment/Busboy Productions-Universal Studios.

101 mins. USA. 2020. Rel: 26 June 2020. Cert. 15.