Jon Stewart returns to political comedy — and takes on the Democrats — in the first 'Irresistible' trailer

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

When Jon Stewart retired from The Daily Show in 2015, his sharply satirical voice was notably absent during the 2016 election that eventually installed Presidential Donald Trump in the Oval Office. You’d best believe that the influential comedian-turned-political commentator isn’t sitting out the 2020 campaign. On May 29, Stewart wades back into the fray with Irresistible, his second directorial effort and a long-overdue reunion with his former Daily Show correspondent, Steve Carell. The first trailer for the film showcases the Oscar-nominated actor’s star turn as Gary Zimmer, a Democrat political consultant who trades Washington D.C. for small-town Wisconsin after agreeing to oversee mayoral campaign of a straight-talking ex-Marine, Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper). (Watch the trailer above.)

(Photo: Focus Features)

For the record, it wasn’t the colonel’s idea to run for mayor of Deerlaken, Wis. Instead, his campaign is part of Gary’s master plan to reinvigorate a moribund Democratic Party. “The Democrats are getting their a***s kicked,” Zimmer tells his staff, highlighting the negativity ratings of the party in middle America that are regularly cited in real-world newspapers. “We need some way to road test a more rural-friendly message.” That’s why he’s so bullish on Hastings, who he characterizes as being the product of “John Wayne and a tractor.” Convinced that this is precisely the guy who could push Wisconsin back to the “blue wall” status it enjoyed prior to tilting toward Trump in 2016, Gary sets up shop in the state and gets to know the local culture, from reaching into cow rectums to twist-off bottle caps.

While Stewart’s politics (and comedy) unapologetically lean to the left, he rarely spared the Democratic Party establishment during his celebrated Daily Show stint. Irresistible similarly seems to suggest that the party’s leaders are out of touch with a wide swath of the electorate. Or, as Gary puts it, “Guys like me don’t know how to talk to guys like you.” But one thing that definitely talks is money, and Gary brings a lot of that with him to Deerlaken — enough to catch the attention of the Republican Party and the conservative news media, as represented by Rose Byrne’s rabble-rousing reporter who has a long history with Gary that parallels Stewart’s own long history making fun of Fox News.

Not surprisingly, reactions to the Irresistible trailer are as divided as the country’s current political parties. Some are thrilled to see Stewart returning to political comedy after launching his filmmaking career with the surprisingly dramatic 2014 film, Rosewater.

Stewart skeptics, on the other hand, aren’t persuaded by his attempts to bridge the country’s political divide. And even some Daily Show die-hards are finding the movie’s red state vs. blue state material a little stale.

Get ready to cast your own vote at the box office this May.

Irresistible opens in theaters on May 29

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