Irresistible [Review]

4142_D014_00038-00042_RCC Rose Byrne stars as Faith Brewster and Steve Carell as Gary Zimmer in IRRESISTIBLE, a Focus Features release. Credit: Daniel McFadden / Focus Features

I wanted to like John Stewart’s Irresistible, it seemed to be the type of film that I usually enjoy. It boasts a stellar cast and the premise seemed poised to create a great satire that could have created a conversation about politics and our society. Instead, Irresistible fails on every front and even a pitch-perfect Rose Byrne can’t save the mess that this film ends up being.

At this point in time, political satires are nothing new, they are becoming something more and more normal in our world. Political satires don’t need to reinvent the game, but they need to at least have something interesting to say, something that maybe isn’t new but at least brings something new to the table. Irresistible has good intentions, but unfortunately, good intentions aren’t enough. The whole premise of the film is set again on the backdrop of middle America and the idea that they are abandoned by their politician after the elections. And it’s a good idea, it could have been a great commentary but the problem is that it’s so poorly executed.

A comedy needs good jokes, if it doesn’t have that then it just falls flat. And really, when someone like John Stewart is at the helm, you would think that this film would be funny from beginning to end and yet, only one joke really had me laughing. Nothing else really landed. Steve Carell tries it’s best but never feels like he is comfortable with this character that quite frankly has nothing attractive to him. The character never feels real or even useful. He’s just there, he is supposed to be this big shot and yet I never felt like he was. Chris Cooper’s Jack Hastings is another character that we are supposed to root for and yet the film gives such little motivation for him that it doesn’t make sense why he is accepting of all of this. All the characters’ motivations are so little that the whole film feels empty and without a purpose.

Rose Byrne is probably the one good think about this film. But again, she is Rose Byrne so it’s not a surprise. Her character is so over the top, maybe too over the top, but she brings something to it that makes it work in a film where no one else seems to be able to make their character works. But really nothing else works. Her character is really there to provide an antagonist to Carell’s but the problem is that because his character is so unlikeable and has so little motivation that her whole presence seems completely useless. I am happy she is there because she is the only strong point of the film but even she can’t save this film.

You can see that the film tries to say something, the problem is that the way the message is delivered makes no sense. There’s something that happens towards the end that just makes no sense with the story and no consequences come out of it. Irresistible wants to create a commentary on politics but it doesn’t do it right and instead is just a mess that makes no sense and bores you. Good intentions aren’t enough because if it’s not executed well, your message doesn’t come across and instead seems to be a simple parody of itself. I wish I could say that something in the story works but the film simply tries too hard and never does what it wants to do.

I wanted to like Irresistible, it had everything I usually like in a film. The problem is that it’s simply not a good film. It’s a mess, it doesn’t know what it wants to be and the jokes never land in the way it hopes. The film should have been something that you can laugh and enjoy even with characters that are unlikeable after all who likes politicians. The problem is that it just doesn’t do that and instead, you are sitting watching a mess from beginning to end and it’s simply not worth any of it, not even Rose Byrne’s pitch-perfect performance makes this worth seeing.