The DC elite play politics with people in the heartland in Jon Stewart’s new Focus Features film “Irresistible.” The film’s central character is Gary Zimmer (Steve Carell), a failed Democratic party strategist who has the bright idea of backing a farmer from Wisconsin who is described as the result of John Wayne and a tractor having a baby. Basically, assuming he is the epitome of Americana.
Gary is a fish out of water in this small Wisconsin town as he tries to encourage Colonel Jack Hastings(Chris Cooper) to run for mayor after seeing a video of an impassioned speech Hastings made to his city council.
Gary starts to warm up to the people in the town, including Hasting’s daughter Diana (Mackenzie Davis). And as the Colonels’ campaign picks up steam, it catches the attention of the RNC’s top strategist Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne). Faith swoops into town and gives Gary’s campaign a run for its money.
Stewart who previously worked with Steve Carell on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” says he wanted to make a film that wasn’t just about the right or left, but about the corruption involved in the election process.
“I was trying to figure out if there was something about the climate of our current political system, and how those systems are incentivized that create the kind of outcomes that we’re finding. The more corrupted outcomes,” Stewart explains.
Carell says he felt like Stewart did a good job of skewering both sides in a humorous way.
“Jon leans liberal, I don’t think that’s a surprise to anybody,” Carell says. “But the way he wrote this film doesn’t feel like a partisan movie to me. It feels very even handed.”
A major comedic highlight in the film, and the biggest jolt of energy happens when Rose Byrne appears as Faith Brewster. She is sharp and fearless and it’s a joy to watch her scenes with Carell.
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“The first scene I had with him, I had to lick his face. And he was so game and laughing,” Byrne says. “It was very fun doing those scenes together.”
Chris Cooper plays the previously mentioned John Wayne/tractor love child. Cooper, who is originally from Missouri, says he thinks the story is fair and balanced. But doesn’t talk politics with friends and family back home anymore because of the current heated political climate.
“It’s really gotten to the point in the last year-and-a-half or so where we kind of can’t have conversations. It’s gotten too confrontational,” Cooper explains.
Davis is another bright spot in the film with her nuanced performance as Diana, Hastings' daughter. The cast is rounded out with fun performances by Topher Grace, Natasha Lyonne and Will Sasso. Stewart hopes no matter what side of the aisle you connect with, “Irresistible” still gets your vote when it streams on demand June 26.