I saw some of the film critic reviews beforehand and started watching the film a little guarded. Within the first 10 minutes I realized that this might be one of those cases where the professional critics may detest the film but the vast majority of viewers will love it. The film riffs on some of the biggest issues in our electoral economy and has fun while doing it. Critics who want it to fit nicely into a box as satire, or an 'underdog' story or as something farcical are - in my opinion - missing the point. Irresistible isn't trying to be like other politically inspired films and it doesn't have to. The depiction of the U.S. election economy has Stewart's fingerprints all over it. The film has much of the humor, cynicism, awkwardness and laughing outrage that makes Stewart unique and beloved by many. In terms of acting - Steve Carell and Mackenzie Davis do wonders playing in the field of political operatives. The elitism portrayed by both characters is framed by their political backgrounds making each unlikable in unique ways and prepares the audience to have a laugh at their expense. Rose Byrne and Chris Cooper play the roles of father and daughter well. Throughout most of the film the audience is made to feel protective of both characters (and the community) from the political operations. Both are capable characters and watching them - and their community - be 'manipulated' by political intrigue invokes a real sense of loyalism. However, by the end of the film, once the final twist is revealed, that sense of protectiveness and loyalism gives way to triumph. While the 'small town' feel could appear a bit trite the film does a good job investing in the awkward Midwestern charm that I grew up with. Honestly, as someone who has lived most of her adult life in small towns in Minnesota and Wisconsin and who has also worked in political organizing - this film struck a cord. As a field organizer, I've seen political operatives come into a community and think that they have the know how and wherewithal to 'fix' the community and make it work for them and their interests. After GOTV is over and the results are in they are gone and community members are left to reconcile months worth of political campaigning and attacks in order to restore some semblance of normal. Until it begins again. This film is a reminder that it doesn't have to be this way. We don't need 24/7 news entertainment. News isn't meant to be like twitter updating every two seconds with the urgency of a natural disaster. We don't need billions of dollars being thrown into political campaigns that make promises of positive change but then can't seem to find the pocket book when the candidate get into office. We don't need it and we don't have to accept it as normal. If you like politics watch this. If you like laughing at the expense of politics watch this. If you don't know anything about U.S. politics still watch this.
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I really liked how this movie surfaced a pretty big problem with our discourse today. Steve Carrell's character was constantly shown as out of touch with the issues on the ground. Had he spent more time on the issues the town faced he might have been able to see what was coming. I don't think this movie was flattering for either party, and spoke truth about the fact that many of our strongly held disagreements are divorced from the daily life of most people. Bud and a burger!!
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A poignant film...for 2016. Jon Stewart has always been a sharp commentator on the state of our current politics, and he brings that same wit and insight into this film. Unfortunately, the issues that the film raise seem deeply out of touch for its release date of 2020. While the issues it raises are certainly still present in today's state of politics, his attack on campaign finances, partisanship, and the media come off as overly broad and disjointed rather than a coherent and cohesive critique.