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Jon Stewart's New Film Takes a Beating

One reviewer likens it to 'a stale corn chip trampled into Party-convention carpeting'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2020 11:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Steve Carrell plays a Democratic political consultant hoping to recruit a widowed farmer and retired Marine to run for office in rural Wisconsin in the aftermath of the 2016 election in Jon Stewart's new political satire Irresistible. But the second feature from the writer-director isn't nearly as well-received as his first (2014's Rosewater), even with the beloved Carrell in tow. One reviewer says the film, with a 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, seems to have been made by someone "who just became politically aware." And the hits keep coming:

  • It's a "moderately clever comedy" in which Rose Byrne "is especially funny as a principle-free woman who will lie about anything," writes Chris Hewitt at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Still, "Irresistible ends up being anything but." Hewitt notes "nothing Byrne says over the course of 100 minutes is even half as blisteringly funny as a run-of-the-mill 30 minutes of the dearly departed Veep." And the film "comes off as condescending, particularly about small towns."
  • You might "retroactively appreciate Stewart's version of ingenuity, which can be summed up as, 'Well, it's supposed to suck, because everything sucks.'" But that's no justification for this film, which "banishes itself to tonal limbo and stays there," writes Matt Zoller Seitz at RogerEbert.com. Indeed, it "plays as if it might have been made by a young person who just became politically aware a few months ago." He gives it 1.5 stars.

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  • Jeannette Catsoulis likens the film to "a stale corn chip trampled into Party-convention carpeting." "Trafficking in the elitism it purports to deplore, Irresistible presents a homespun cliché of Middle America" with a "patronizing tone [that] can at times be troubling," yet "its thesis may be too unsophisticated for our increasingly traumatic times," Catsoulis writes at the New York Times.
  • There are shots at Democrats and Republicans alike, but "Irresistible can only bring itself to contend with Trumpism as a failure of the left rather than as an active choice in itself, racism reduced to a by-product of economic anxiety," suggesting Stewart is “woefully ill-suited to address our tumultuous present," Alison Willmore writes at Vulture. She also finds something missing from Carrell's performance, but acknowledges it's "impossible to make something funny when you're not sure what the punch line is."
(Read more movie review stories.)

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