Sunday, May 5, 2019

Long Shot - Review

On paper, the comedic sensibilities of Seth Rogen should be kept rather far away from a romantic comedy setting, particularly one as layered and sharp as Long Shot. However, the schlubby nature and over the top laugh are gone here, replaced by a strange vulnerability that shows Rogen is more than his stoner persona, and actually plays a pretty convincing romantic lead.

Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) is a gifted and free-spirited journalist who has a knack for getting into trouble. Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) is one of the most influential women in the world — a smart, sophisticated and accomplished politician. When Fred unexpectedly runs into Charlotte, he soon realizes that she was his former babysitter and childhood crush. When Charlotte decides to make a run for the presidency, she impulsively hires Fred as her speechwriter — much to the dismay of her trusted advisers.

Against all odds, Rogen and Theron have remarkable chemistry. From a purely cosmetic angle, the two do not compute in the typical Hollywood fashion. From a comedic angle, the two may just be one of the better pairings in recent memory. Rogen has an odd charm to him, removed from the stereotypical Rogen-ness that has basically made his career. And Theron continues to prove just how underappreciated her comedic side truly is.

Look, while a lot of Long Shot is clever or sharp in its execution, it is still a romantic comedy, and the standard situational comedy that brings still pops up. But where Long Shot differs is in its placement of real world concerns and conversations into these settings, commenting on the baffling nature of politics as it goes. It’s not quite as smart or witty as something like Veep, but it offers enough to set it apart still. 

And just when it appears that Long Shot is taking a clear political side, it offers a question to all its viewers that’s feels vastly important in today’s world: what is in a perspective? It doesn’t spend a whole lot of time on it, but the fact that it even asked this question after spending a good chunk of the runtime lambasting Fox News and Rupert Murdoch (played brilliantly by an unrecognizable Andy Serkis) is a bold move. The entire film actually does an incredible job balancing the silly and serious in places where other films stumble.

Long Shot has more than a few instances of basic rom-com set-up, but they’re quickly forgotten when the charm and likability of the two leads washes over both the film and the audience alike. The roles are reversed, a fact that the film fully recognizes with multiple Pretty Woman references, and proves that sometimes chemistry can come from the most unlikely situations. 

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