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NATIONAL CULTURE

‘Irresistible’ Explores Money in Politics

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
Jon Stewart at his 2010 Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear (Photo: Flickr Cliff)

Comedian and former talk show host Jon Stewart directs Irresistible, a new feature film that explores the role of money in politics.

Teaming up with his one-time “The Daily Show” colleague Steve Carell, Jon Stewart’s new satirical comedy portrays a Democratic strategist who tries to help a local candidate win an election in a small right-wing town.

Carell stars as the fictional George Zimmer, who’s in despair due to the results of the 2016 election, of which he was an adviser for Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential bid. Sensing that a change is needed to re-energize his party, hope arrives in the form of seemingly progressive yet small-town man, Marine Colonel Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper).

Zimmer sees Hastings as an opportunity to swing Americans from the heartland to vote Democrat in the next presidential election — by giving them someone they can relate to at last. He sets about grooming Hastings as a Democratic mayoral candidate in his small Wisconsin hometown.

Themes that naturally arise from this premise include: big city vs. small city, how the media distorts politics into entertainment, and partisan divisiveness. Big-money corruption in U.S. politics is the main focus, in the forms of absurd fraudulence in campaign TV advertising; focus-grouping and market-testing of every last voter demographic and policy idea; and candidates who are reduced to sound bites for the public.

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Stewart also makes an appearance in the end credits, interviewing an election expert on the themes explored in his film. Also starring in the film is Rose Byrne as Hastings’ political opposition.

Reviews of the movie have been mixed, but noted that its release is timely in this election year.

Irresistible premiered June 26 in select theaters and on demand.

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