Andrea’s Angle | John Stewart’s New Comedy Is Charming, Insightful, and “Irresistible.”

I love humor, I like Jon Stewart’s insights and writing, and Steve Carell can be very funny in the right script. Irresistible is billed as a political comedy and I was very interested to see what Jon Stewart had written. It was certainly the right script, as Steve Carell is as funny and talented as he can be, the film is utterly charming with a film that offers insights into both political parties and the political machine that runs in America.

Originally slated for a theatrical release, Irresistible was delayed due to COVID-19 and is now being released digitally. Written and directed by Jon Stewart, this political comedy stars Steve Carell as Gary Zimmer, a Democratic political strategist who discovers a retired veteran standing up for the rights of his town’s undocumented workers at a town council meeting. Gary thinks Marine Colonel Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) has a voice that can reach across party lines so he goes to the small town to convince him to run for Mayor. Jack only agrees if Gary will run his campaign as he has to run his farm. Gary works with Jack’s daughter, Diana (Mackenzie Davis) but runs into a snag when the Republican National Committee sends his nemesis, Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne) and the local race becomes a fight for the soul of America.

There are several factors as to why this film is charming over politically pointed. While politics do play a huge part and there are several themes explored in the movie, it is quite simply the humor and the actors that make this film so compelling and quirky. The humor is light, humanistic, and is very much using the fish out of water element of a big city political strategist discovering how a small town functions, where everyone knows everyone and everyone remembers everything. But Gary Zimmer also discovers warmth and friendship, even though he is different from the townspeople. His moments of disconnect are what drive the humor and the plot. The townspeople also offer comedic moments, like the baker, Becca (Rebecca Ray), offering baked goods named after Gary and also asking him to make deliveries out to Hastings farm. The local diner is owned by the current Mayor’s family and offers more opportunities for comedy. With the additions of Topher Grace and Natasha Lyonne, the comedic chops in the movie are phenomenal.
It is interesting that the political messages in Irresistible are not straight forward or simplistic. Throughout the movie is the subtle commentary on the entire political machine, without discriminating on either side. We see the Republicans using fear to guide elections and Democrats out of touch with small towns and common people. In using the foil of a small town to present these ideas, it also demonstrates the fight for American politics in small local politics, in the day to day running of towns that lack resources and people who lack money so fear what might be taken away by others. And it shows that if we want to reach people, we must see their point of view and offer real solutions.

Steve Carell is fantastic. His portrayal in the film is light, humanistic without being over the top. He plays clumsy and out of his element but the character is intelligent and cares which is why the character is so charming. He doesn’t just want to win, it matters to him that Hastings’ voice be heard, that the town has someone battling for them that cares as well. His chemistry with Mackenzie Davis is fantastic as she points out missteps on his part but the pair have a beautiful dynamic. Rose Byrne is wicked and delightful as Faith Brewster and only adds to the humor as she beats down her opponent in every way she can think of. Chris Cooper as Jack Hastings is a perfect choice, portraying his character as strong but evocative. The bit characters are every bit as funny as Steve Carell. I especially found Rebecca Ray zany and laugh out loud as Becca the baker.

There is very little I found to object to. It has some predictable elements in the out of his element character but overall, the writing, the directing, and the acting are so excellent as to balance out any predictability.

If you are looking for a film that brings insight into the political drama of both parties, into the political machine of the United States, and how local politics play their part in the national level, I think you will find this both fascinating and compelling. Steve Carell is at his best, most hilarious self, and the secondary actors only add to the comedy of this movie. It is not over the top but it is zany and quirky and as I said, completely charming.

Rating: 4.5 pastries out of 5.

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