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Irresistible – Movie Review

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Irresistible – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

While The Daily Show was primarily a comedy show, Jon Stewart was able to prove himself as a smart political commentator on the events of the day. With Irresistible, we see him return to that territory and the result is a funny and at times, surprising look at the behind-the-scenes machinations of campaigning. There’s almost a Frank Capra feel as he depicts big city hotshots trying to help out a small town. While not all of the jokes score big laughs, the satire still comes through in clever ways. Jon Stewart definitely had a lot on his mind when he was writing the screenplay.

A significant portion of Irresistible involves Steve Carell’s campaign strategist Gary trying to impose his ideas on the small Midwestern town he visits. There are some solid jokes built around the differences between his Washington, D.C. ways and the residents of this town. What helps is that Gary is made far more the butt of the joke than these Wisconsinites. They’re portrayed largely as friendly and well-meaning, with Gary as the obnoxious invasive species. Carell delivers a solid performance, showing just how out-of-place he is. The back-and-forth he has with Rose Byrne as a Republican strategist leads to some humourous barbs as they attempt to top each other.

The always dependable Chris Cooper portrays Gary’s mayoral candidate completely straight as he views this campaign as more of a nice experiment. Mackenzie Davis ends up being the stand-out as the candidate’s daughter who just wants her father and town to be happy. Davis has proven herself in recent years to be one of the best actresses of her generation and this is further reason why she deserves more high-profile roles in the future. Meanwhile, Natasha Lyonne and Topher Grace are quite funny as stat-focused consultants competing with each other to prove who has the best strategy. The film’s structure is admittedly centered more on sketches, but some of those are very humourous, especially Gary’s hunt for decent wireless internet.

The political commentary is well handled, with Stewart taking particular aim at the empty promises of campaigns and the desperate ways in which votes are pleaded for. One of the main thesis of Irresistible is about the economic repercussions of political donations and how money can drive even something as simple as electing a mayor. Isn’t it more important that people learn what the candidate stands for, rather than seeing how much money they have raised? It’s hard not to think of billionaire Michael Bloomberg wasting millions of dollars on a failed presidential campaign that could have gone to something more helpful.

Some might accuse Irresistible of soft-peddling the issues it’s addressing, but Jon Stewart’s intention might not have been to be so loud. It’s more holding a mirror to the absurdities that can happen in any political campaign and the way the media is manipulated for their gain. By employing a talented group of comedic actors, he also crafts a funny movie with plenty of worthwhile scenes. A lot of Irresistible feels like a bunch of thoughts that have been bubbling inside Stewart for a while and it’s good to see him find a way to bring those out into the world, while still being entertaining.

Stefan Ellison