Long Shot as a romantic comedy is definitely going to be different if Seth Rogen is in it. No amount of personal humiliation limits him. Charlize Theron has a wide range of material which includes some romance stuff but in recent years her fare has leaned towards action and drama befitting an Oscar-winning performer. It’s not surprising that the script by Dan Sterling (The Interview) and Liz Hannah (The Post) had them both come aboard as producers and stars since the roles play to each of their strengths. Directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50) the story is of a U.S. Secretary of State slowing falling for a lefty journalist who is brought on to write for her in the lead to a potential presidential run.
Charlize Theron channels her inner Veep, Clinton and Madam Secretary to make for a compelling single and earnest Secretary of State. The President played by Bob Odenkirk is a ridiculous Trump-like cutout of a man who gained office via acting in television and wants to leave the presidency after a single term to pursue an acting career in the movies.
This opens the door to Theron’s character making a run for the president.
There is some political satire in watching Theron playing Charlotte Field running for president but it is Shallow State versus Deep State. It is likely many women will recognize the standard for them is different than for a man. In a meeting looking at her strengths it is revealed none of it is related to her policy but on perceived likability. It is there that she finds that polls say her weakness is humour.
This information is related to her by a very funny Lisa Kudrow in all-to-short appearance.
Seth Rogen plays Fred Flarsky a recently unemployed journalist who quit when a FOX-like owner played by Andy Serkis buys his publication. His best friend played by the very funny O’Shea Jackson Jr. drops everything to commiserate with Fred and take him to a swish part featuring Boyz II Men. Little does Fred know that his former babysitter and girl crush Charlotte will be there.
There is good chemistry between Rogen and Theron that comes from mostly good writing, acting that throw it all out there and good foils in supporting cast. In Theron’s case, some of the funny moments to work off comes from her assistants June Dianne Raphael and Ravi Patel. When Charlotte sees Fred at the party as well as his encounter with the man who caused him to quit journalism, she is amused and intrigued. Despite strong misgivings of her staff she looks at his writing and sees in Fred a person that might be able to find a relatable and funny voice she can communicate policy.
Fred is not interested in the job unless it is full out policy change and not the typical politician program than means nothing. She agrees and soon it becomes clear that he is the right man for the job and helps her connect and make real progress on a world-wide tour the get an environmental agreement. The Canadian prime minister played by appears throughout as a genial, handsome empty suit with an unfortunate laugh. It is hilarious as a send up of Trudeau.
Theron is an exceptional actor who makes you believe that she is a real person trying to make it in a fake world. In the movie she swears, fills her face, wants to have rough sex and take drugs. With Fred she feels she can let her hair down although her and she knows that her image can’t show this. Despite all this they fall in love.
This is a romantic comedy at its heart and while it is some politics, lots of raunch and quite a bit of satire, it has a sweetness about it that wins the audience over. The continued dominance of superheroes in the movies might just leave a window open for some funny entertainment mixed with a 90s nostalgia vibe. But this isn’t your momma’s rom-com unless she liked to be spanked. Also, there is one Seth Rogen moment right out of There’s Something About Mary that had the audience laughing for several minutes afterwards. A sweet movie…yes, but be prepared for outrageous moments that are as crude as you might find on the screen anywhere.
This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations