Seth Rogan is the luckiest human being on the face of this god-forsaken planet. He gets to co-star alongside Charlize Theron, one of the single most beautiful and talented human beings to ever grace cinema, in a romantic comedy where SHE is somehow inexplicably attracted TO HIM. I know that is obviously the entire premise of the movie but life is unfairly fortuitous to him for this, and I, a man of equal social awkwardness and curly hair, am a bit salty. My mom likes to say that Seth Rogan “looks like he smells bad” and that I am “not a total disappointment all the time”, so I have to ask, Charlize, what do you see in him?
As I said, the film inexplicably centers around a MUTUAL attraction between Secretary of State and Presidential hopeful, Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) and hairy, profane oaf, Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogan). Fred is an investigative journalist who is absolute and steadfast in his ideals, and after his newspaper is bought out by Andy Serkis’s Roger Ailes stand-in, he goes on a viral tirade. Charlotte, who is now a major prominent political figure in the world and who was Fred’s childhood babysitter and crush, hires Fred to help write some speeches for her to help her appear funnier to potential voters. And so, we join them on a charming journey watching them steadily fall in love with each other while they balance her political aspirations with his political ideals.
The film’s strength is undoubtedly the relationship between the leads. Charlize and Seth seem to have actually grown up together, exhibiting chemistry that I could not even replicate with some of my closest friends, and because of that, you desperately yearn for their happiness together. They are a sort of odd couple, star-crossed lovers, but their interactions with each other, from the moment they are seen on screen together, display a romantic connection that even I, as a very bitter man, definitely appreciate.
Unfortunately for “Long Shot”, 50% of the Romantic Comedy genre is Comedy. Most of the dialogue, in order to secure a cheap and effective laugh, just forces in “F*ck” and “F*cker” to try to take advantage of that R rating and appear edgy. As for Seth Rogan, he has earned his reputation as a mainstay in the comedy genre. He has made many successful films that are rightfully revered, but after seeing it so many times, his roles start to resemble each other and his humor becomes shtick. This is a problem, at least for me, when Charlotte makes Fred get her high on Molly to help her relax. The movie, at that point, was never “wet your pants” funny, but could always get a consistent chuckle. But then it just turned into a “DRUGS MAN! AMIRITE?!?” punchline that is just so lazy. Maybe some people can’t get enough of that type of humor, but it certainly is not for me. And most egregiously, the final, big joke, is a slapstick routine about Fred rubbing one out and making a mess on himself. Yeah, really clever…
There is a lot of political messaging within the film that can be taken either way depending on your affiliation, but there is one message that I truly appreciate and would like to discuss. Lance (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), Fred’s obligatory smartass, supportive best friend, reveals that he is a proud member of the GOP and creates a dialogue about how Fred’s uncompromising political views are never meant to work with people who disagree with him, meaning he is just as intolerant as those he claims to hate. It is a very interesting point, that we, as a society, do not have the freedom to freely express ourselves because it could fail to conform to the expectations of others. We need to be more accepting of those who disagree with us and learn to communicate with them instead of silencing them and pushing them away. We could all learn something from this, whether it be about politics or just life in general.
Overall, the film may not be either actor’s finest work, but it is certainly enjoyable. It is a very predictable narrative but it has its charm. As a date night flick, it serves its purpose and everyone will likely be going home feeling some type of way a bit more.
I give “Long Shot” a reasonable 7.0 out of 10
Directed by: Jonathan Levine
Starring: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogan, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Andy Serkis, June Diane Raphael, Ravi Patel, Bob Odenkirk
Runtime: 2 Hours and 5 Minutes