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Review: 'Irresistible'

No spoilers!

Rest assured, this will be a spoiler-free review.

For the record, I despise people who blurt out the endings of movies. I don’t do it, I’ve never done it, and I strongly dislike people who do.

I don’t even give away the endings of bad movies. There are no exceptions.

So now you’re wondering what it is about the ending of Irresistible that I’m refusing to talk about; well you're just going to have to actually watch it to see!

That is, after all, why filmmakers make movies. Endings are kind of a big deal.

If you’ve seen the trailers, you know this much: that it’s a political comedy written and directed by Jon Stewart, starring Steve Carell, Rose Byrne and Chris Cooper.

The story is about a seasoned Washington. D.C., Democratic strategist, Gary Zimmer (Steve Carell) who lends his support to a retired Marine colonel, Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) running for the office of mayor in the Wisconsin town of Deerlaken.

It’s a small town in a swing state that has larger political ramifications.

As things get underway, the opposition sends their star strategist, Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne) who has a ton of experience and an axe to grind.

We discover that Gary and Faith were once a red hot item prior to a very bad breakup. Fate has offered them an opportunity to unleash some pent-up anger.

Steve Carell and Rose Byrne are two of the funniest people in the movies. Pairing them up is a stroke of genius here. And a strong selling point.

Chris Cooper is also a rock solid actor who normally plays some detestable head case. It’s fun to see him playing a straight up, respectable kind of guy.

Add to all that, the credentials of Jon Stewart as a comedy superstar and you have the makings of a movie worth seeing, just based on its roster.

Stewart isn’t in it just for the laughs, though there are many.

He’s in it to make a point about politics, and people, and what we have become in 2020 on the verge of what might arguably be the most important election in the history of the nation.

It starts out as light comedy shot in the colorful style of any number of pharmaceutical TV spots that look like they were inspired by the legendary Saturday Evening Post illustrator Norman Rockwell.

On the surface, Deerlaken appears to be that kind of idealized, little Midwestern town, but at a closer glance, we notice that like many other little American towns, businesses are boarded up and people are out of work.

Like so many of us these days, the decent, hard-working citizens are struggling to survive.

So the election matters. In a big way.

Part of the story, as you might imagine revolves around the political-strategist big wigs trying to ingratiate themselves to the townspeople.

They imagine themselves to much more clever than they really are. In the movies, that inevitably backfires.

And there is some romance here.

Early on, Gary (who the townies have nicknamed “DC Gary”) sets his sights on the Colonel-turned-farmer’s attractive young, only daughter, Diane (Mackenzie Davis).

Need I say more about the farmer’s daughter aspect of the story? We’ve all heard it before.

The other romantic element is the love-and-sex-gone-bad relationship between the two opposing strategists, Gary and Faith.

While you’re waiting for the sparks to fly, and they do occasionally, all this falls far short of the comedy potential you might have hoped for.

This kind of nasty revenge is always fun to watch. I could have stood to see a lot more of it.

You just want to turn these two political pit bulls loose on each other just to see what will happen.

I know it sounds cruel, but it makes for great comedy, no matter how it turns out. And you know that these two actors know how to serve it up.

On a side note, Irresistible is a bit uneven at times.

I’m referring to a scene right out of Robocop (1987) that virtually comes out of nowhere and sticks out like a sore mechanical thumb. It’s funny, but noticeably inconsistent with the rest of the movie.

While Irresistible starts out looking and feeling like something produced by Hallmark, it eventually descends into some R-rated exchanges that are familiar territory to both Carell and Byrne.

It’s a bit of a shift, from a movie that would have still been funny without the F-words and would have been accessible to a wider audience.

The overall message of the movie is really for everyone.

And that brings me to the ending that I refuse to talk about. All I will say is that it’s a thing of beauty from a writing standpoint. You’ll love it. And you’ll love it even more after you stay for the additional scenes tacked on to several versions of the final credits.

Be patient. Good things come to those who wait.

In this case, it’s a whopper of a finale that, as it turns out, is neither far-fetched or over the top.

Quite the opposite, it’s a bit of a sobering revelation. And the biggest reason not to resist Irresistible.


'Irresistible' will premiere at home on demand June 26th.

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