Seth Rogen reteams with director Johnathan Levine for Lionsgate’s Long Shot. Rogen portrays Fred Flarsky, an aggressive journalist who refuses to compromise his journalistic integrity. After his latest successful assignment, Fred’s boss informs him that a right-wing media conglomerate purchased their newspaper.
Refusing to write fluff pieces, Fred quits his job, which prompt’s Fred’s best friend Lance (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.) to take Fred out for a night on the town. Lance and Fred wind up at benefit party for Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), the current Secretary of State and possible 2020 presidential candidate. It turns out Charlotte is Fred’s former babysitter. Fred winds up as part of Charlotte’s staff, and the two embark on a worldwide press tour where they rediscover, not only their childhood friendship but also a romance as adults.
After seeing the first trailer for Long Shot, I had the initial impression the film would be a “Beauty & the Geek”-style, romantic comedy with stoner jokes and toilet humor thrown in for the male crowd. I enjoyed Fred’s take-no-prisoners journalistic style, which, while somewhat crass, still comes across as honest. Always on the move, Charlotte, for me, is the definition of a modern woman. She sleeps standing up, reads summaries of television, and has no time for romance. To my surprise, Long Shot is a charming love story mixed with hilarious one-liners and a small dash of political drama.
Director Johnathan Levine who previously directed Rogen in the cancer drama 50/50 and the Christmas comedy The Night Before, succeeds again with his go-to leading man Seth Rogen. Known for his improvisational skills when it comes to acting, Rogen shines as Fred. Part of Rogen’s charm is his ability to turn any situation into a comedic moment.
Charlize Theron, who has also done comedies in the past, was a delight as Charlotte Field. What I enjoyed the most about Theron‘s portrayal, was the realistic characterization. The first half of Long Shot, Theon displayed the strong domineering woman she has portrayed in the past. However, as she rekindles her friendship with Fred and learns to loosen up is when the fun times for her character start.
I must also mention O’Shea Jackson Jr, who is quite the scene-stealer. One of the best bits in Long Shot is an exchange between Lance and Fred, about Lance’s political party. The monologue Lance gives is potent, as well as hysterical.
Theron and Rogen have undeniable chemistry, and the love story between the two is entirely plausible. Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah’s script takes the time to build up the budding romance between Fred and Charlotte. I also enjoyed how the screenplay sheds lights on the public’s opinion of political figures. With Charlotte running for president, on paper, Fred is wrong for her image. The lengths that Charlotte’s team are willing to go to ensure she wins while keeping Fred in her life, will remind audiences of a few past presidents, who I won’t mention here. As I watched the film, I thought about real-world scenarios and how quickly a simple action affects someone in a political field.
Long Shot succeeds as, not only a hilarious comedy but also as a great date movie. The chemistry between our leads is great, and thankfully, not all of the best jokes were in the trailer. Sure to be an early summer crowd pleaser, I highly recommend Long Shot.
Final Grade: B+