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Long Shot (A Movie Review)

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

Long Shot

LONG SHOT (2019)

Starring Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, June Diane Raphael, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ravi Patel, Bob Odenkirk, Andy Serkis, Randall Park, Tristan D. Lalla, Alexander Skarsgård, Kurt Braunohler, Claudia O’Doherty, Paul Scheer, Aladeen Tawfeek, Isla Dowling, Lisa Kudrow, Aviva Mongillo, Braxton Herda, Lil Yachty, Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman.

Screenplay by Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah.

Directed by Jonathan Levine.

Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. 123 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Seth Rogen has pretty much made a career playing a good-hearted but not particularly handsome guys who have women who are way, way too good for him fall head over heels for his shabby charms. Over the years, he has bedazzled the likes of Katherine Heigl, Elizabeth Banks (twice!), Rose Byrne, Amber Heard, Cameron Diaz, Anna Faris and Michelle Williams.

Add Charlize Theron to that impressive list.

Long Shot is wish-fulfillment. Not just in romantic terms, it is also a sweetly naïve and hopeful comedy about politics, particularly in the current toxic era.

You know what, though? It’s a hell of a lot of fun. So even if it’s not exactly the most realistic film to come down the pike, it’s definitely a fine time in the cinema. Honestly, who expects a romantic comedy to be realistic, anyway?

If you go where Long Shot is taking you, you’ll most likely enjoy yourself.

In a weird way, it’s like a political play on the plotline of Notting Hill. What would you do if you were in love with the most powerful woman in the US – potentially the world? Even more concerning, what if she feels it too? In a world with a 24-hour news cycle, secret service and political backstabbing, could a normal Joe (and a rather abnormal one at that) not embarrass the woman he loves – who just happens to have her sights set on the office of President of the United States? (This is a nostalgic look back to the days not so long ago when the President of the United States actually had a sense of shame.)

Rogen plays Fred Flarsky, a highly-principled (perhaps even stridently principled) investigative journalist who looks at his writing as a way to stick it to the man. When his Brooklyn newspaper is bought by a corporate conglomerate (owned by a staunch Republican, no less!) he quits in protest.

As a way to get him out of his funk, his best friend invites him to an exclusive party with an appearance by their old favorite band Boyz II Men. While there, he sees Charlotte Field (Theron), who is the young Secretary of State of the United States. She also happens to have been his babysitter when he was 13 and his first crush – a crush that he never seems to have totally gotten over.

Field feels sure she knows this guy, though she hasn’t seen him since he was a child, so she has a secret service man to bring him to her. When she realizes who he was and that he is out of a job, she checks out his writing and offers him a gig punching up her speeches. This is particularly important because the TV-star boob who has surprisingly won the Presidency has decided not to run for reelection so that he can focus on his film career. (The TV star subplot is an obvious dig at Donald Trump, but honestly this President is more ineffectual than outright malicious.)

Spending time together, working on speeches, they become friends and eventually fall for each other. Honestly, through most of the film the audience does have to wonder what she sees in him, other than the fact that he reminds her of when she was young and idealistic.

But okay, it’s a rom-com. We’ll give it some slack. Not every couple has to fit together neatly.

It’s mostly a very charming rom-com, though a couple of times it delves a little too far into There’s Something About Mary-style bad taste. However, that is limited, and for the most part it is a sweet love story and an idealistic look at the way that the world is run. We may not totally believe it, but it is still the kind of story we want to believe could be true. Sometimes that’s enough. This is one of the better… if not the best… romantic comedies so far this year.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2019 All rights reserved. Posted: May 3, 2019.

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