Long Shot (2019) - Review

by - April 10, 2019

Synopsis: When Fred Flarsky reunites with his first crush, one of the most influential women in the world, Charlotte Field, he charms her. As she prepares to make a run for the Presidency, Charlotte hires Fred as her speechwriter and sparks fly.

Unlikely But Not Impossible.

Oh boy! Thanks to the unique pairing of Seth Rogan and Charlize Theron, I had been excited to see Long Shot ever since the first trailer dropped. My anticipation only intensified when positive reviews began to emerge from its showing at SXSW and when the opportunity came to snag a pass to a screening in my hometown, I grabbed it. I'm thrilled to say that the movie met my expectations and then some. Obviously, I'm not too hard to please when it comes to romantic comedies, but even I can admit that they're quite formulaic and it takes a really special script and pairing to bring about anything new or remotely original.

Long Shot doesn't exactly subvert the genre, but it also doesn't need to. With a biting, witty screenplay from Liz Hannah and Dan Sterling, director Jonathan Levine sets an unlikely (but not impossible) romance against the backdrop of the country's current political and moral shortcomings.

Andy Serkis is essentially unrecognizable as Parker Wembley, a billionaire who runs the large ring-wing conglomerate that buys out the company where journalist Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogan) works. Fred is passionate and quite vocal about his beliefs, and he resigns from his position in protest. Feeling down on his luck, Fred is invited by his successful best friend Lance (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) to a swanky party to see Boys II Men perform. It's there that Fred spots the woman who used to babysit him when she was sixteen and he was thirteen. The woman is Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), and she is also currently the Secretary of State. Charlotte is just as passionate about her work as Fred is, and she has convinced  President Chambers (Bob Odenkirk) to endorse her for President in 2020 after he reveals to her that he won't be seeking re-election. A former television star, and a bit dimwitted, Chambers is ready to take on the difficult challenge of transitioning into movies.

Charlotte is about to embark on a tour of twenty countries to gather support for an environmental initiative she has put together to help save the planet, and she needs someone to punch up her speeches. After she and Fred reconnect, she offers him a job as her speechwriter. Without any other work on the horizon, and eager for a chance to spend time with Charlotte, Fred accepts under the condition that Charlotte's initiative will actually do something good for the planet and not just be another political agenda that goes nowhere. Over the course of the next few weeks, Charlotte and Fred get to know one another again and begin to fall in love.

Of course, there are obstacles to their relationship. Being a woman, Charlotte faces more scrutiny and harsher judgment than her male counterparts. She is graded by the public on her humor, her elegance, and even her hand wave. Dating a man like Fred Flarsky would be impossible to sell to the public, a point that her assistant Maggie (a wonderfully snarky June Diane Raphael) continues to drive home. There is also political pressure from the President and Wembley, whom the President answers to, causing Charlotte to rethink her initiative, something that upsets Fred and causes him to question her dedication to the issues she has always been so passionate about. Charlotte's dream has always been to become the President of the United States, but will she sacrifice all of that for Fred? Should she have to?

What makes this film truly work is the remarkably adorable chemistry between Rogan and Theron. The tagline is beyond accurate: Unlikely, but not impossible. Rogan's Fred Flarsky is loud and occasionally crass with a terrible fashion sense, but he is also honest and morally sound. Rogan plays Fred as a lovable, heartfelt mess with ease and never once did I ask myself what Charlotte could possibly see in him. Charlotte, on the other hand, is beautiful and intelligent, but also down to earth and kind which doesn't seem to be much of a stretch for Theron. While you would never expect a woman who looks like Charlotte to fall for a guy who looks like Fred, their attraction to one another is so immediate and feels so authentic that you never doubt it. You root for them from that very first glance across a crowded dance floor.

There is plenty of romance in this movie, but Long Shot also more than delivers on the comedy. The humor is both raunchy and clever and Theron especially delivers a dedicated, comedic performance, going toe to toe with Rogan in every scene and often times outshining him. It has to be noted that one of the funniest recurring gags in the movie is the media coverage of Charlotte's success. Only one channel out of the lot, Wembley Media, focuses solely on Charlotte's appearance and the fact that she's a woman. There is no doubt what channel Wembley Media is supposed to represent, but thankfully it has a satisfying payoff.

There are some wonderful throwbacks to the '90s, including a couple of nods to Pretty Woman, and even though the movie may follow the tried and true rom-com formula, it still feels fresh thanks to the edgy political commentary, the engaging humor, and fantastic performances from Rogan and Theron.

Starring: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogan, Ravi Patel, Bob Odenkirk, June Diane Raphael, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Alexander Skarsgård, Andy Serkis
Directed by: Jonathan Levine
Rated: R
Watched: 04.09.2019
Fun Facts:
- The original title of the film was Flarsky.
Notable Song: Must Have Been Love by Roxette

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  1. YEY! I'm so glad this is good! I adore Rogen and Charlize is one of my favorite actresses

    1. They're both really wonderful in this movie and I hope Charlize takes on more comedic roles because she was fabulous. I really hope you enjoy it!!


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