By Jessica Owoc
May 10, 2019
He’s a controversial journalist who just lost his job. She’s a high-power government official on the road to the highest office in the country. Much to the surprise of those around them, the two come together unexpectedly. What could go wrong? The new comedy starring Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron, appears to be the kind of raunchy comedy that we’ve come to anticipate from Rogen, but with clever writing, stellar performances, and an uplifting story, Long Shot wins.
Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) has just quit his job and his best friend Lance (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) insists on taking him to a party in an effort to cheer him up. Attending solely on the promise of seeing Boyz II Men, Fred isn’t expecting much. Then he runs into his childhood babysitter/crush Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), who is now Secretary of State with eyes on the presidency. Eventually, Fred becomes a speech writer for Charlotte, setting up the unlikely pairing in Long Shot.
Seth Rogen has made a career out of playing the “likable loser” and it’s for good reason. What makes Fred work as a character is that he is a bit naive and idealistic at times, but genuinely wants to do the right thing. Rogen plays this expertly and Fred’s undeniable love and support for Charlotte is refreshing. Charlize charms the screen with her usual A-List grace, yet she isn’t afraid to go all out to get the laugh. In her best scene she expertly negotiates the release of a hostage– while on drugs.
Writing a comedy isn’t an easy task. Making an audience laugh while trying to connect with them at the same time can be daunting. However, writers Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah combine the raunch humor with heart and ground it in a story that leaves us feeling good. With pop culture references that range from Blossom and Pretty Woman to Marvel and Game of Thrones, the dialogue is engaging, entertaining and, of course, funny. Not only do the two leads give great performances, the supporting cast of familiar faces– June Diane Raphael, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ravi Patel, and Bob Odenkirk– round out the party, bringing the script to life.
The movie not so subtly pokes fun at mainstream news media, where in some cases you aren’t sure if you’re laughing at the absurdity of the joke or the fact that it wouldn’t be that surprising if it was a real news segment. Most importantly, Long Shot does an excellent job of portraying just how difficult it can be to be a woman in power. “If I’m too angry, I’m hysterical,” Charlotte explains to Fred as he writes her speech, highlighting the sometimes unfair benchmarks we hold women to who are in the public eye. Don’t be too emotional, be funny, but not too funny, who are you dating? These are all things Charlotte has to think about as she grooms herself to take the most powerful office.
Conversely, her current Commander-in-Chief (played to perfection by Bob Odenkirk) is a former TV star who wants to leave office to pursue something more difficult: movies. Even though some of the comparisons may hit close to home, Long Shot ultimately will have you leaving the theater hopeful.
This is a comedy with heart. It’s hysterically vulgar, but also has a great love story at the center of it all. With the star power of Rogen and Theron, it will be tough to top as the year’s best romantic comedy.
Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.