Irresistible is a 2020 American political comedy film written and directed by Jon Stewart. It stars Steve Carell, Chris Cooper, Mackenzie Davis, Topher Grace, Natasha Lyonne, and Rose Byrne. The film follows a Democratic strategist who tries to help a local candidate win an election in a small right-wing town.
Initially set for a theatrical release in May 2020, the film was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, and then released on Premium VOD and selected theaters on June 26, 2020, by Focus Features. It received mixed reviews from critics, who called it “a soft political satire”.
Successful Democratic Party campaign consultant Gary Zimmer is in despair due to the results of the 2016 presidential election. Gary is shown a viral video of Marine Colonel Jack Hastings giving a speech standing up for the undocumented immigrant population living in his hometown of Deerlaken, Wisconsin. Deciding that if he can run Hastings as the Democratic mayoral candidate in the next election, he can convince the American people in the heartland to vote Democrat in the next presidential election, Zimmer travels to Deerlaken to persuade Hastings to run against his town’s incumbent mayor. Arriving in Deerlaken, Gary experiences the vast cultural divide between his home of Washington, D.C. and the townspeople’s more rural mannerisms.
Gary soon meets Hastings and his daughter Diana and pitches his idea. Hastings initially declines, considering himself more of a conservative and having no real interest in politics, but later relents and agrees to run under the condition that Gary runs his campaign. Hastings recruits his friends and neighbors as volunteers for the campaign. However, setbacks soon arise including the fact that most of the town is conservative and the fact that the incumbent Mayor Braun is being funded by the Republican National Committee. The RNC also sends down Faith Brewster, Gary’s nemesis, to counter Gary.
As the race heats up, Gary takes Hastings to New York City so they can recruit fundraisers for the campaign to match Faith’s money and reinforcements. Hastings gives a powerful speech to the possible donors about how he needs their help for his small town, which inspires Gary. Their donations allow Gary to upgrade their campaigning methods. Soon the election polls show Hastings and Braun neck and neck, although the Hastings’ campaign takes a dive when one of Gary’s team members advertises a pro-contraceptive platform to a group of single women who turn out to be nuns. When Gary starts berating his teammates, Diana convinces him to apologize and that if he is going to run her father’s campaign, he needs to be nice.
When it starts to look like Faith and Braun are going to win, Gary tries to convince Hastings and Diana to play dirty and start exploiting Braun’s skeletons. Diana is horrified that Gary would play dirty and goes to Braun for advice. Braun and Diana decide to secretly reveal a bigger scandal about Braun so Gary will not go after Braun’s brother, which was his original plan. The scandal, however, proves to be false.
On Election Day, no one votes, which confuses both Gary and Faith. It is revealed that the election was actually a setup. Diana shot the video of her father’s immigration speech so that Gary and Faith would pour thousands of dollars into the election, which would help the town through its financial trouble due to the recent closure of the military base. Gary is shocked that Diana would play him and Diana then counters him by explaining the town set this up because D.C. politicians play small towns like theirs all the time. When Gary reveals that he was hoping that there was a spark between them, Diana rejects him. Later, Gary and Faith enter into a sexual relationship, and Diana becomes the mayor of Deerlaken after a special election.
Steve Carell as Gary Zimmer
Rose Byrne as Faith Brewster
Chris Cooper as Marine Colonel Jack Hastings
Mackenzie Davis as Diana Hastings
Topher Grace as Kurt Farlander
Natasha Lyonne as Tina De Tessant
Will Sasso as Nick Farlander
C.J. Wilson as Lowell
Brent Sexton as Mayor Braun
Alan Aisenberg as Evan
Debra Messing as Babs Garnett
Christian Adam as Michael
Will McLaughlin as Captain Ortiz
Jason Vendryes as YAWM
William Smith as Hofbrau Bar Fly
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