A Democratic political consultant helps a retired Marine colonel run for mayor in a small, conservative Wisconsin town.
jon Stewart has been fairly quiet since his retirement from The Daily Show. In a recent interview with Howard Stern he talked about being content on a farm for rescued animals and enjoying more time with his family. He also sent to that he would be doing projects that interested him. In “Irresistible” Stewart working as both Writer and Director has crafted a funny, informative, and expansive look at the political process.
Steve Carell stars as Gary Zimmer; a senior advisor to the Clinton’s who is still smarting over the recent election particularly his insistence that the “Rust Belt” was firmly in their hands and therefore opted not to devote a significant amount of time campaigning there which in turn was a key reason for their defeat.
An online video from a small farming community in Wisconsin catches Gary’s eye as it shows a former Marine farmer named Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) challenging the local mayor at a town hall over immigration related issues and other hot topics.
Convinced that he can bring Jack over to the Democratic Party and use him as a starting point to restore the party in Wisconsin; Gary heads to the small town to make his pitch.
He quickly finds himself out of his element as the small-town community with friendly townsfolk to watch out for one another is very different than what he is used to. Gary eventually convinces Jack to run for Mayor and his involvement soon attracts the big money from the opposing side that seem to be rattled by what appears to be an insignificant small-town campaign.
Gary soon realizes that his nemesis Faith (Rose Byrne) who is his opposite for the Republican Party.
Gary and Faith have a clear history with one another and there is clearly plenty of animosity between them as each one is determined to succeed and broke their success in the face of the other.
As the campaign unfolds viewers are given a very direct look at how the political machine works from polling, demographics, special interests, fund raising, campaigning, muckraking, and using the media.
While this is often presented in a humorous way; Stewart uses a lot of simple but direct approaches to the various topics as he did on The Daily Show as a basis for further discussion.
The film takes some unexpected twists as it unfolds and the conclusion helps underscore that all parties involved often have an angle that they’re trying to work. One of the biggest messages that I took from the film was that the amount of money poured into campaigns has become more about one side beating the other rather than addressing the issues and putting the best possible people forward to represent the population.
Stewart handles the very complicated topics of the film through humor but above all used generally likable characters on all sides. Nobody was truly evil and you could clearly see much of their motivations.
The closing credits contains an interview with a political expert who discusses Superpacs and their lack of oversight and how people with ulterior motives can generate large amounts of money by manipulating the system completely within the law.
From a strong cast and entertaining story. Stewart has crafted a very solid and enjoyable film that will make you think.
4 stars out of 5
Focus Features, Plan B Entertainment by Jon Stewart.
Stars: Steve Carell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Brent Sexton.
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Keywords: small town mayor election campaign political satire american politics rural life
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