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If someone asks me what I would entirely remove from the world to make it a better place, my answer would either be politics or religion. Both are necessary in their own way, but all I see is lies, corruption, racism, war, death, and so on. Therefore, I'm not a fan of political movies, even when these are meant to be satires or just a light-hearted flick for families to enjoy. That said, I really liked Jon Stewart's talk show, and Steve Carell is one of those actors who's always able to make me laugh no matter what. So, I decided to give this one a go...
I have very mixed feelings, but probably not the ones most people will share with one another. Being from Portugal (an European country with a wholly different process of election) and having close to zero interest in politics, I struggled with completely understanding America's way of campaigning and voting, which is kind of one of the points the film eventually makes: the system isn't the best one. Ironically, one of the best parts is somewhat connected to one of my major issues. The last fifteen to twenty minutes play out a genuinely smart idea, even if it's logically ludicrous, but it made me want the entire film to explore it.
From the very beginning until the start of these last few minutes, it's a pretty straightforward political-comedy with nothing being remotely unique or groundbreaking. I didn't even chuckle at most of the jokes, and when I did, it was more due to the actor's performance than the joke on itself. Irresistible follows a formulaic cycle of events, where Democrats and Republicans constantly get the upper hand on each other with an extra move after the other. Honestly, it gets tiresome and dull at a certain point.
This is how those last minutes that I addressed above relate to this issue: I wish that the movie had explored that final idea instead of saving it for a plot twist that was far from mind-blowing. Yes, it's an entirely unrealistic idea in the sense that it's impossible for it to actually happen without someone screwing it up. However, I rather have a film with a bold yet nonsensical concept boasting a really impactful message than saving this portion to be the ending of a cheesy, cliche, unfunny, and not that entertaining political satire.
Honestly, without the extraordinary cast, Irresistible would have been a total disaster. Steve Carell, as expected, carries the whole thing to safe harbor. I always loved his mannerisms and expressions, even when some people find them over-the-top or unnecessary. I just can't not like one of his performances. He perfectly captures the "man from the capital" persona, someone who doesn't know how to deal with the hospitality of Rural America or how to talk to Deerlaken's people or even what to order at a bar.
Chris Cooper delivers a phenomenal display as Jack Hastings, the Democrat's candidate. His will to save his town and his love for everyone who lives in it takes him through the crooked path of politics, but without ever giving up on what he truly believes in. He doesn't want to lie, he doesn't want to play like everyone else plays, he just wants to be himself. Mackenzie Davis returns to her good performances (loved in Terminator: Dark Fate, but The Turning was a terrible mistake in her career), by playing the not-that-innocent daughter, Diana Hastings.
Finally, I like Rose Byrne, but her character's relationship with Gary Zimmer is also one of my biggest problems with the movie. They're the most annoying part of it all. Extremely cliche, not funny at all, and the dialogues become so exaggeratedly improvised. Their banter continuously unbalances the tone. This type of toxic yet sexy relationship has been seen so many times now that it genuinely becomes incredibly irritating. Jon Stewart clearly needs some notes so that next time, he knows how to distinguish a feature film from a talk show's sketch.
Irresistible owns a bold, intelligent idea that despite being unrealistically absurd, it carries an impactful message that I'd love to have seen explored in a deeper level, and not just in the last fifteen minutes. Jon Stewart's movie is at its best when making subtle little jokes about important real-life themes like racism, immigration, gun violence, political corruption, and more, showing the audience how some people foolishly react in certain situations. However, if it weren't for an outstanding Steve Carell and an exceptional cast, this film would have been a trainwreck. With a formulaic narrative lacking effective humor and unique characterization, Irresistible struggles to be remotely entertaining. It also features such a cliche, annoying relationship between two characters that made me roll my eyes and sigh way too often. A comedy that barely makes me chuckle about an activity I sincerely hate... It didn't work for me, but if you enjoy this subgenre, go for it. It's still far from being an awful movie.