Irresistible, one of the first post-quarantine films of the year, is an unconventional rom-com disguised as a political movie – or vice versa.
Former late night talk show host Jon Stewart wrote and directed this film starring his buddy, Steve Carell, as Gary Zimmer, a disillusioned Democratic political advisor out to remake the party after the election of Donald Trump. Zimmer’s doing it from the ground up, running the mayoral campaign of a Republican-turned-Democrat in a small Wisconsin town and hoping the election will spark a national resurgence.
After an exchange at a city council meeting between farmer Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) and the pig-headed Republican Mayor Braun (Brent Sexton) goes viral, Zimmer sees the battle as a model for political strife in the country. He reasons if he can win in Wisconsin, the nation’s heartland, he feels he could turn back the Republican tide in 2020.
Of course, there are women in the picture. Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne) is Zimmer’s seductive Republican counterpart who takes the other side in the tiny election just to torment Zimmer. Or is there an ulterior motive at work?
The actors are all perfect, but the standout is the beautiful Mackenzie Davis as the Democratic candidate’s seemingly unspoiled daughter. Davis, who has often played icy (or downright cruel) women as in television’s Halt and Catch Fire and movies such as Terminator: Dark Fate, gets to portray a smart and sexy woman.
Carell carries the film as the brilliant strategist, with a little bit of the manic Carell seen in almost everything else he has done. But the real star of this film is the self-aware writing by Stewart. And at the end there is a scene between Davis and Carell that is pure Stewart, an eye-opener for any man over 40.
Be sure to watch the credits for some surprising interviews about how this crazy plot could actually work in real life, justifying the crazy twists in the film.
In Other News:
If you’re looking for a good book on the life of the legendary Marvel Comics master Stan Lee, avoid Stan Lee, A Life in Comics by Liel Leibovitz.
He recycles many of the oft-told stories of how Lee, a Jewish kid from New York, changed the comics industry forever by creating a whole new kind of superhero with Spider-Man, the Avengers and many others.
Leibovitz and hits many of the high points, but the drawback is in his factual inaccuracies. There are too many blatantly incorrect assertions in the work about Lee’s most important creations.
Granted, the public will not know the difference, but any self-respecting comic fan will stop many times and say, “What?”
Just a few of the errors include:
+ Asserting that Captain America’s Bucky was killed by gunfire in 1949 and replaced by Golden Girl. Not true: he suffered a broken leg and was quietly replaced.
+ Saying that the father of Superman co-creator was shot to death by robbers in his Cleveland shop, and was found in a pool of blood. False: the elder Siegel was indeed robbed, and that incident caused a fatal heart attack.
+ Repeating the oft-debunked story that the Fantastic Four was created after Marvel Publisher Martin Goodman played golf with a DC executive who bragged about the Justice League. He says Goodman told Lee to do the same thing. Never happened.
+ Called the X-Men’s seminal robot villains, The Sentinels, cyborgs. They are true robots and not robot-human hybrids.
+ In retelling the first appearance of Galactus, he says the Watchers’ homeworld was destroyed. Nope, never happened.
+ Said Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch were the children of Magneto, a suspicion that was proven wrong. Okay, the sibling’s history is twisted and Magneto was believed to be their daddy for a while, but a fan would know better.
One positive note: this bio, more than other Lee biographies, shows how much Lee’s Jewish heritage influenced his creations. Makes sense since the author often writes about his Jewish issues.
Pick up any other bio. I’ve read most of them and they are all pretty accurate. The best of the bunch is Danny Fingeroth’s A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee. At least Danny knows what he’s talking about.