Jon Stewart’s latest political satire has my vote.
Yet another movie to skip a theatrical debut and travel on various streaming services thanks to COVID-19, Jon Stewart’s latest political comedy “Irresistible” takes place immediately after the Trump-Clinton election, which Trump won, as we all know. Writing and directing for the first time since “Rosewater,” he delivers the goods by imagining Michael Scott in the world of politics and allowing the levity to give the election an upbeat tone.
Steve Carell plays a political consultant named Gary Zimmer, who plans to make a former Marine Colonel and Wisconsin farmer named Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) a Democratic candidate for the mayor of its fictional town of Deerlaken. He was inspired by Jack’s speech about the harshness of a deportation plan. He agrees on the condition that Gary runs the election here.
Of course, what wouldn’t be a fight without a rival? This one is in the form of a Republican strategist named Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne). This subplot is kind of exhausting and lackluster. I can’t tell whether it’s needed or not, but I suppose it’s supposed to be obligatory in these election movies.
And you also get supporting work from Mackenzie Davis as Jack’s daughter trying to be the voice of reason for Gary, Topher Grace and Natasha Lyonne as Gary’s research team members, Brett Sexton as Deerlaken’s current mayor hoping to get re-elected, Bill Irwin as a man in an exoskeleton robotic suit (with a high pitched DECtalk singing voice), and Debra Messing as a DNC official.
To be completely honest, I’m not fully involved with the world of politics, but I do try to acknowledge what goes on in the world, including the COVID-19 epidemic and the never-ending racial war in America.
The point is that I was able to find some sparks in “Irresistible,” thanks to Stewart’s ambitions, Carell’s comic timing, Cooper’s good-natured characteristics, and Davis’ wise attitude. It’s about fighting cynicism and overcoming the political obstacles. Who has Jack’s vote? What religious or racial group must his campaign not offend? How can he win this election? And on a minor note, does money have a happy ending? Good questions. The movie more or less answers them.
While the drama has its honesty, the comedy here tickles you with the right timing. A running gag I liked is when Gary has some Wi-Fi issues. I know I hear people complain about this sort of problems before in movies and shows, but the way the jokes are handled here are just right. Examples including an opening scene when Gary can’t get Google to turn off the radio or answer his phone, or when he and his team get in trouble for working in their cars on a local school.
“Irresistible” has enough hardy laughs and swell performances to keep the film rolling along. The narrative isn’t too campy, and the gags are not labored. So, I think we should appreciate the film for that.
You have my vote Jon Stewart.
Available on AppleTV, Fandango Now, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Xfinity, Vudo, and many other streaming services.