Lonita Cook Film Review: “Irresistible”


Kansas City native and veteran actor Chris Cooper finds himself in a world of partisan cliques, cherry-picked contenders, and party manipulators with Irresistible, the new Jon Stewart authored and directed comedy.

Colonel Jack Hastings (Cooper) is just what the spin-doctor ordered. He’s a Midwestern ex-military conservative farmer who believes we are only as strong as our weakest links. In this case, immigrants. After Trump’s presidential victory, Democratic campaign strategist Gary Zimmer (Steve Carell) travels from the nation’s capital to the Heartland to find a candidate who can resurrect his depressed party by connecting it in a meaningful way to small-town voters.

Chris Cooper stars as Jack Hastings and Steve Carell as Gary Zimmer in Irresistible, a Focus Features release.

His mission? Convince the Colonel to run for mayor. The Colonel accepts on one condition: Gary must run his campaign. Hot diggiddy-dog, with just a little DC savvy, Gary brings national attention to teensy ol’ Wisconsin.

In his recent interview with IN Kansas City, Cooper calls Irresistible “a light, smart little comedy.” Knowing the Stewart style, it couldn’t be anything less.

Here, it’s more. Though at times the narrative opposition is uneven, and the tension sometimes feels forced, the intent is solid. Americans should see the political process for what it is—a bunch of money-havers buying and selling the fate of citizens. Campaigns are one way that they do it. And neither “side” is more innocent than the other. Both have their faithful citizenry positioned on the chess board.

Irresistible is wrapped in a sharp humor, but the system it reveals is serious. Gary has a nemesis. Faith Brewster is a Republican strategist. Once the Colonel gains some notoriety, Faith moves to Wisconsin and backs his Republican opposition. The small town becomes wedged between their big-city bickering.

It takes a certain arrogance to willfully tear communities asunder. To Gary and Faith, it’s the name of the game. It’s the thrill of it. What American voters are going to be reminded of: a master is loyal to his opponent, never to his pawn. Candidates have a pact with each other while only making promises to the people.

With its oft-improvised Carell-isms and observations of the cultural differences between the coastal guys and their Midwestern neighbors, Irresistible strives to be more than a flick about big politics. It’s a comedy about the redistribution of wealth. In true Jon Stewart style, the theme is deeper than what’s on the surface.

Irresistible streams on VOD.

Jon Stewart

Chris Cooper, Steve Carell, Rose Byrne and Mackenzie Davis

Run Time
1 hr 41 min