Film Review – Long Shot

Long Shot (MA)

Starring: Jonathan Levine

Director: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, June Diane Raphael

Four stars

Review by: Julian Wright

Another rom-com in which the goofy, off-beat looking male lead scores the affections of the drop-dead gorgeous female lead? The collective groans are audible already.

Yes, the pairing of slobby stoner Seth Rogen with the seriously stunning Charlize Theoron is a gag-inducing contrivance, but hear me out – there is more to Long Shot than appearances. (No really!).

When a multi-millionaire buys the publication he works for, passionate journalist Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) quits his job on principle. While at an event, he is reunited with his former babysitter Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) and his crush is reignited.

Field has come a long way since her babysitting days – she is now the USA Secretary of State and Presidential candidate.

Field hires Flarsky to touch up her speeches and the two become romantically linked, much to the chagrin of her key staffer Maggie (June Diane Raphael), who sees the coupling as a PR nightmare.

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While Long Shot treads the rom-com line with loyalty (it does not aim to reinvent the wheel), the political context of the story, sharply written satire and winning performances of the two leads (and supporting cast, to be honest) gives this a fresh boost.

Having this cheesy story play out with characters who have real jobs goes a long way. How many rom-coms have we seen in which the characters have quirky jobs like “dog walker” and can also afford a New York studio apartment with Central Park views? The political context gives weight to the story.

Theron and Rogen prove to be the perfect on-screen couple with their undeniable chemistry. Rarely do you feel so invested in the outcome of such an odd-ball coupling. There is such a genuine connection between these two characters over values, politics and the environment that you kind of forget he is a bit of schlub. It helps that Field is not always the Princess she appears to be.

Theron in particular further cements herself as one of the best actresses working today. She has in the past proven to be comfortable and convincing as the anti-hero (Monster, Young Adult) and in Long Shot she reveals another layer of talent as an intelligent bogan Princess with a bit of an edge. She is uproariously hilarious when negotiating terrorist over the phone while high.

While it appears on the surface to be another male wish-fulfillment rom-com, Long Shot rises above with its wit and grounded backdrop.

 

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