MOVIE: LONG SHOT
STARRING: CHARLIZE THERON; SETH ROGEN; O'SHEA JACKSON JR.; ALEXANDER SKARSGARD
DIRECTED BY: JONATHAN LEVINE
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
Everybody loves the underdog story. Long Shot is the underdog story that I did not see coming. With the success of various raunchy comedies, such as Superbad, Neighbors, Pineapple Express, and many more, you would not expect a Seth Rogen vehicle to be as heartfelt as Long Shot is. Director Jonathan Levine, no stranger to making films with pairs, 50/50 and Snatched both documented varying types of friendships, but the real surprise is that Long Shot is a beautiful romance. Charlize Theron is secretary of state Charlotte Field, who hires on Fred Flarsky (Rogen), a writer that doesn’t fit the mold of typical government staff, and also has a history with Charlotte from high school. What begins as a test to breathe a sense of humor into Charlotte's possible run for president, turns into a heart felt story of finding love where you least expect it.
The character of Charlotte Field (Theron) believes in fighting climate change, stuck working for president Chambers (Bob Odenkirk), who is not only is the commander in chief, but he played one on TV. The central point of Long Shot is rooted in the sexist world we live in, how it forces Charlotte and her team (delightfully played by June Diane Raphael and Ravi Patel) to focus on the ridiculous details that could derail her presidential run. When a conservative media head (played by an unrecognizable Andy Serkis) buys the newspaper Fred writes for, it forces him to quit, and seek the recreational drug therapy from friend Lance (scene stealing O'Shea Jackson Jr.). When the two attend a party that Charlotte is at, a conversation is had, and the risk is taken to bring Fred on as a speech writer. A risk that just might pay off.
The pairing of Rogen and Theron is not outside the realm of possibilities. Theron proved a bit of her comedic side in Jason Reitman's Young Adult and Tully. Rogen proved he could show his dramatic side in Danny Boyle's Jobs. What makes Long Shot so impressive is how writer's Liz Hannah and Dan Sterling merge the two actors styles, rolled into a delightful comedy, making hilarious commentary on the worlds depressing political climate, while having us believe that if you are a good person first, you can find love. There are a lot of laughs to have watching Long Shot, it's the romance that got me.
On top of an often engaging comedy, Long Shot has a fantastic collective cast that just works. It is reminiscent of past 90's romance films, where the nerd gets the girl or guy. It is obvious that Long Shot owes a lot of its style to films such as Dave, Superbad, Say Anything, and on and on. If anything, it is the comedy that tends to pull Long Shot down, with jokes that feel a bit too obscene for the age of the actors portraying them. I say this with honesty, Seth Rogen is a good actor, is charming next to Theron, and his films can be for adults now, not just 13-year old boys.
By the end you are rooting for everyone in Long Shot. It's not just a good movie, it's by far one of the biggest surprises of SXSW this year. A good start is having Charlize Theron, who once again proves that she is the most versatile, and hardest working actors today. The Mad Max: Fury Road star can do it all. She can kick-ass in Atomic Blonde, she can play a deranged serial killer in Monster, and she can even be president of the United States. After you see Long Shot you are going to want to vote for her.
Written by: Leo Brady