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Long Shot (2019)
Movie Reviews

Long Shot (2019)

A hilarious, poignant romcom featuring fantastic performances and chemistry between Rogen and Theron.

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Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) gets endorsement of the current POTUS (Bob Odenkirk) to run for president in the next election. Charlotte takes that opportunity to really up her political game, which means pushing her latest agenda of environmental protection on a global tour to gain backing and securing the popular vote before announcing her candidacy.

Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) is an undercover journalist for a left-wing publication who’s made a name of himself for uncovering the shady underbelly of society and politics with colorful (foul) language. When the publication he writes for is bought out by media mogul Parker Wembley (Andy Serkis), Flarsky quits his job to maintain his integrity.

Flarsky’s best friend Lance (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) takes him out for a day on the town to forget his woes of unemployment, including him to a swanky party where Boyz II Men are performing. It’s here that he encounters his beloved old babysitter… Secretary of State Charlotte Field! The two reminisce about old times (though Flarsky tries his best not to geek-out), but this happy reunion is interrupted when Wembley intervenes.

Despite his crude demeanor and slovenly appearance, Charlotte investigates Flarsky’s writing and decides to hire him to write her speeches for the road – against the advice of her road team Maggie (June Diane Raphael) and Tom (Ravi Patel). Charlotte and Flarsky grow close as they work together on the trail, refreshing their youthful friendship and igniting a romance.

Long Shot gives the romcom a much-needed shot of adrenaline. In recent years, Hollywood has shied away from the once-dominant genre due to their dwindling performance in the box-office, as well as their inability to spawn franchises. Long Shot may still lack the franchise potential (it’s hardly The Avengers), but I think once word-of-mouth gets out it might spread like wildfire.

Written by Dan Sterling (The Office, The Interview) and Liz Hannah (The Post), and directed by Jonathan Levine (Snatched, 50/50), Long Shot is an absolutely hilarious movie that brings the laughs in the form of jokes, pop-culture references that so true it hurts, crudeness, slapstick, and fantastically snarky banter. I wasn’t the only one in the theater busting a gut from laughing so hard, from the opening scene to the close!

There’s great chemistry between Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron! From just the posters and trailers, you’d think their paring might seem as forced as when Rogen played opposite Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up. That’s not at all the case. Their romance ramps up slowly and organically from their “meet cute” at the Boyz II Men performance to their inevitable first kiss and beyond. They may not look like the ideal couple (a point Raphael’s character brings up time and time again), but they just work!

In addition to hilarity and romance, the film plays in the sandbox of being a “political message movie”. But don’t let this deter you. It surprisingly flows well with the rest of the story. There’s messages about being true to yourself, figuring who “yourself” really is, seeing things from the opposing perspective, and most prevalent: picking your battles. I know, I know, that sounds like a recipe for a pandering disaster, but it really isn’t. Trust me – I despise anything that even hints that it’s preaching an agenda (I’m the guy that was straight-up bored to death by such critically-acclaimed movies as First Reformed and BlacKkKlansman), and the fact this movie treats its audience with respect is a testament to how seamlessly its messages are weaved into the story.

Oh yeah, there’s even an intense action sequence! Who would have thought? It’s just as jarring and unsuspected as some of the slapstick, but these moments are perfectly timed and placed, affecting our leads in a profound way that moves along their romance.

I’m just going to say it: Long Shot may just be my new favorite romcom! A bold statement for sure, but one I’ll gladly stand behind. Nearly every joke hits the mark, the performances and chemistry between Rogen and Theron are fantastic, the story flows perfectly, and the messages are profound. I loved this movie and, after a day of reflection, I love it even more while writing this review. Go see it, especially after you’ve seen Avengers: Endgame for the umpteenth time. By that point you could really use a laugh.

About the Author: Travis Seppala