Review: Jon Stewart's off-key political comedy, starring Steve Carell, is far from 'Irresistible'

Source: ArcaMax - View Original Article
Published: Jul 02, 2020
Category:
Bias Rating:

94% Liberal


Bias Score Calculation:

94% Positive Sentiment + Policies: Anti-Discrimination Laws = 94% Liberal


Policies:

Abortion
Welfare
Anti-Discrimination Laws

Sentiments

  •   Liberal
  •   Neutral
94% "Jack, played by Cooper with the perfect note of aw-shucks gravitas, succinctly lays this all out when he speaks at a fancy New York fundraiser attended by Democratic power players."
90% "At the time, many of us lamented that one of our most incisive commentators wouldn't be around to give the 2016 election season the rigorous scrutiny it deserved."
88% "In time he persuades Jack to run as a Democrat against the town's Republican mayor, Braun (Brent Sexton), as part of a plan to woo heartland voters leftward and demolish the idea that conservatives have a monopoly on family values, military heroism and love of country. Gary's tactics have their desired impact, and before long camera crews and data-crunching consultants have descended on Deerlaken, some of them at the command of Gary's ruthless Republican nemesis, Faith (a wickedly funny Rose Byrne)."
80% "It asks us to direct our rage not against one another but against the structure by which we elect our leaders -- a cash-clogged, ego-driven two-party system that has proved dispiritingly out of touch with working-class voter concerns."
77% "The same can't quite be said of Irresistible, which sometimes steals a glance in the direction of sharper, more cynical entertainments like The Candidate."
69% "He demonstrated this on The Daily Show and occasionally demonstrates it here, mainly through Gary and Faith's escalating stunts and outlandish TV spots."
55% "But as Jack's sharp-witted daughter, Diana (a very good Mackenzie Davis), rightly points out, Gary is no better, with his ignorant condescension toward the rural Americans he's ostensibly fighting for."
54% "Faith, resembling some unholy mashup of Kellyanne Conway and Kayleigh McElhaney, is an unscrupulous operator."
50% "The movie, to be fair, wants to show that seemingly inconsequential matters can have enormous impact."
-52% "(Jack Hastings was partially inspired by Jon Ossoff, the upstart Georgia Democrat who almost flipped a conservative House district in 2017 and is now challenging David Perdue, his state's Republican senator.)"
-60% "A dairy farmer and Marine veteran from a sleepy, economically blighted Wisconsin town called Deerlaken, Jack is no one's idea of a liberal poster child, which is why Gary finds him so promising."
-66% "Some of this is surely due to unfortunate timing; it's not easy to sell a high-minded comedy at a moment that cries out for a seething polemic."
-71% "Irresistible styles itself as a bipartisan call to arms."
-88% "It's ridiculous that they have to be there, too."
-91% "If this misleadingly titled movie is meant to be a whimsical Capra-esque fantasy, as the production notes suggest, then why does it make such a show of its topical relevance?"

We have listed the top 15 sentiments. More sentiments do exist. Please review the full article for more information.



*Our bias meter rating uses data science including sentiment analysis, machine learning and our proprietary algorithm for determining biases in news articles. The rating is an independent analysis and is not affiliated nor sponsored by the news source or any other organization

Extremely
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Contributing sentiments towards policy:

94% : Jack, played by Cooper with the perfect note of aw-shucks gravitas, succinctly lays this all out when he speaks at a fancy New York fundraiser attended by Democratic power players.
90% : At the time, many of us lamented that one of our most incisive commentators wouldn't be around to give the 2016 election season the rigorous scrutiny it deserved.
88% : In time he persuades Jack to run as a Democrat against the town's Republican mayor, Braun (Brent Sexton), as part of a plan to woo heartland voters leftward and demolish the idea that conservatives have a monopoly on family values, military heroism and love of country. Gary's tactics have their desired impact, and before long camera crews and data-crunching consultants have descended on Deerlaken, some of them at the command of Gary's ruthless Republican nemesis, Faith (a wickedly funny Rose Byrne).
86% : But "Irresistible," the first movie he's written and directed since his 2014 drama, "Rosewater," has little interest in treating the current administration as a satirical target.
86% : Stewart can deconstruct and satirize that language as well as anyone.
84% : While it may be superficially on Gary's side, "Irresistible" views their gleeful one-upmanship with sly detachment.
82% : Bitter partisan invective certainly exists, though it has been stripped of any real outrage and given a slick screwball sheen.
81% : Like a lot of movies set in an alternate political reality, Jon Stewart's "Irresistible" is a satire that feels closer to science fiction -- and not the dystopian kind.
80% : It asks us to direct our rage not against one another but against the structure by which we elect our leaders -- a cash-clogged, ego-driven two-party system that has proved dispiritingly out of touch with working-class voter concerns.
77% : But Stewart is also riffing on the durable populist-humanist tradition of Frank Capra, whose small-town Everyman parables affirmed America's ability to live up to its greatest democratic ideals.
77% : Movies like Capra's "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" -- and some of its latter-day descendants, such as "Swing Vote" (2008) -- are political comedies notably scrubbed of any real politics.
77% : The same can't quite be said of "Irresistible," which sometimes steals a glance in the direction of sharper, more cynical entertainments like "The Candidate.
72% : " In that 1972 film, Robert Redford plays a Democratic senatorial hopeful who actually has views on things like welfare, abortion and workers' rights but learns to couch those views in the media-savvy language of euphemism and spin.
71% : If it's meant to lay bare the realities of the system, as the production notes also suggest, then why does it feel so toothless and inconsequential?
69% : It was shot last year and thus unfolds in an America untouched by pandemic or visible signs of protest.
69% : He demonstrated this on "The Daily Show" and occasionally demonstrates it here, mainly through Gary and Faith's escalating stunts and outlandish TV spots.
68% : Months after that stinging defeat, he's ready to leap back into the fray by turning one Col. Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) into the future face of his beleaguered party.
68% : He works for a political apparatus that ignores issues, weaponizes dissent, mines scandal for entertainment, funds campaigns rather than solutions and ultimately serves no end beyond its own survival.
66% : Or so believes Gary Zimmer (Steve Carell), a veteran Democratic strategist who is introduced banging the drum for Clinton in 2016.
65% : The tone is cautiously optimistic; the cynical Beltway insights come wrapped in an upbeat smile.
65% : It's all just a game to Gary, whom Carell plays like a distant cousin to "The Office's" Michael Scott -- slicker and more calculating, to be sure, but fundamentally just as clueless.
55% : But as Jack's sharp-witted daughter, Diana (a very good Mackenzie Davis), rightly points out, Gary is no better, with his ignorant condescension toward the rural Americans he's ostensibly fighting for.
54% : Some amusing if obvious fish-out-of-water comedy ensues as Gary, who travels by private jet and exudes jittery D.C.-insider energy, draws suspicious glances from the locals, though also a few friendly smiles.
54% : Faith, resembling some unholy mashup of Kellyanne Conway and Kayleigh McElhaney, is an unscrupulous operator.
52% : A video of the colonel passionately defending the town's undocumented workers has gone sufficiently viral to persuade Gary to make his way to Deerlaken.
50% : The movie, to be fair, wants to show that seemingly inconsequential matters can have enormous impact.
48% : The Late Show" have made clear.
48% : (Jack Hastings was partially inspired by Jon Ossoff, the upstart Georgia Democrat who almost flipped a conservative House district in 2017 and is now challenging David Perdue, his state's Republican senator.)
47% : But timing alone doesn't account for it.
46% : The story may take place some time after President Trump's 2017 inauguration but in tone and spirit, it feels like the product of an earlier, less contentious era.
46% : But I found myself arguing a lot with "Irresistible," whose attempts to soothe our national tensions strike me as dodgy and disingenuous, and whose narrative priorities feel bizarrely misjudged.
45% : It's a fair point, and a hard one to argue with.
45% : At the same time, those films were curiously reluctant to get too specific about what those ideals should be.
43% : From a wry opening montage of Trump, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and other presidential candidates on the campaign trail, chowing down with locals in diners while Bob Seger croons "Still the Same," it's clear that the movie means to indict not an individual but a more generalized state of political inertia. "
42% : The ensuing hullabaloo, although packed with twists, setbacks and a bizarrely unfunny cameo by Bill Irwin, has its roots in reality.
41% : It's ridiculous that he has to be there, he tells them.
40% : A dairy farmer and Marine veteran from a sleepy, economically blighted Wisconsin town called Deerlaken, Jack is no one's idea of a liberal poster child, which is why Gary finds him so promising.
34% : You could place that era sometime around 2015, when Stewart stopped hosting "The Daily Show.
34% : Stewart has hardly been silent in the years since, as his political advocacy and appearances with his friend Stephen Colbert on "
34% : Some of this is surely due to unfortunate timing; it's not easy to sell a high-minded comedy at a moment that cries out for a seething polemic.
29% : Irresistible" styles itself as a bipartisan call to arms.
12% : It's ridiculous that they have to be there, too.
9% : If this misleadingly titled movie is meant to be a whimsical Capra-esque fantasy, as the production notes suggest, then why does it make such a show of its topical relevance?

*Our bias meter rating uses data science including sentiment analysis, machine learning and our proprietary algorithm for determining biases in news articles. The rating is an independent analysis and is not affiliated nor sponsored by the news source or any other organization

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