Jon Stewart's directorial chops in comedy are just as sharp as his delivery a decade ago on The Daily Show. Irresistible is a kick in the pants. Stewart is a master of blending reality and parody in the political news world, and his feature comedy writing and directing debut is laugh-out-loud funny, even if you're watching alone. What's slipped a bit is his ability to make ground-breaking, earth-shattering revelations. Political operatives are sleazy? Yep, we know. Small town folk are nice? Uh-huh, nothing new. While the movie's story takes some surprising turns, the big message has been out there for a while: The U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, which made it OK for corporations to contribute as much as they want to political campaigns, has mucked up the ways that campaigns are run, to no benefit of voters. Many viewers are likely to react with a nod, a yup, and a tsk-tsk, but Irresistible is unlikely to spur the activism that Stewart seems to be hoping to stir from both parties. The interview that runs during the last part of the movie's end credits is the only substantial reveal, and even then, it's news most of us already know.
Stewart is known to be a friend of those who identify as liberal, but, if anything, he's always tried to stand with reason. Here, he gives both "sides" of the United States a reason to laugh both at themselves (an excerpt from a real NPR piece is on-the-nose hysterical) and at each other, and he clearly wants voters to see that no one benefits from the way modern campaigns are funded. Greg is a very Carell character: obnoxious, arrogant, and successful despite his obvious shortcomings. Byrne has long shown that she can play terrible people with such flair that you can't imagine anyone doing it better -- and she's in peak performance as GOP strategist Faith Brewster, who has the look of Hope Hicks, the style of Ivanka Trump, and the fangs of Kellyanne Conway. While Gen Z is quickly becoming the most politically active generation since the teens of the late '60s, they're also less familiar with Stewart's work and less likely to bite on this concept, especially because it doesn't even touch on foreign influence in U.S. elections. Plus, the film is coming out at a time when teens are primarily focused on social justice. Stewart delivers an important message, but young people may be less likely to listen to it when they see greater issues at stake -- or, for that matter, when they don't see themselves reflected on-screen.