Long Short (2019)
Directed by: Jonathan Levine
Written by: Dan Sterling & Liz Hannah
Starring: Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Andy Serkis, June Diane Raphael, Bob Odenkirk & Alexander Skarsgård
It’s been a long time since I’ve truly enjoyed a rom-com (I’m a firm believer that nothing will ever top Bridget Jones’s Diary), and yes I’m aware that’s probably quite a sweeping generalisation, but on the whole they do fall into the same predictable tropes and formulaic nature of the genre. Going into Long Shot I thought we’d see just another Seth Rogen slacker comedy, but I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. There was a real charm and likeability to it, with a heartwarming central relationship that nicely subverted steroetypical gender roles.
Directed by Jonathan Levine, Long Shot stars Charlize Theron as US Secretary Of State Charlotte Field and Seth Rogen as recently unemployed investigative journalist Fred Flarsky. Charlotte is preparing to run for President and after bumping into Fred at a party, who she knows from her babysitting days at high school, and hires him as a speechwriter to increase her perception rating with the public. As the two travel around the World preparing for her presidential campaign by promoting her eco-initiative (trees, seas and bees – yes really), they inevitably fall for each other, but will Charlotte risk her presidential chances to be with him?
Yes it’s pretty much a modern day twist on Pretty Woman, but surprisingly it works. As ever in Rogen film’s, his character is way out of his league with Theron’s Charlotte, but the two really do have a believable chemistry that makes the odd pairing even more endearing. The film is genuinely funny too, with some hilarious scenes featuring Charlotte navigating a hostage negotiation while high on ecstasy and Fred escaping a white-supremacist gang by jumping out of a window and full on bouncing off a car (believe me, it’s hilarious.) Some of the gags however don’t always hit the mark with Rogen’s typical gross out gags creeping into affairs. The film also featured an interesting satirical commentary on the media’s influence on politics, as well as the pressures on women in politics.
Let’s face it, Seth Rogen pretty much plays the same lazy stoner character in most films, however I warmed to Fred a lot more than his previous performances. Maybe it’s the fact that he was a little more mature and actually had beliefs and conviction, which helped influence Charlotte throughout her campaign, combined with whole the underdog aspect. That neon windbreaker jacket and baseball cap combo does deduct a couple of brownie points though! Charlize Theron is magnificent as usual though, I can’t get over just how incredibly versatile she is, proving to be a dab hand at comedy too following brief outings with Seth Mcfarlane. The supporting cast were also a delight, with Charlotte’s PR team Maggie (June Diane Raphael) and Tom (Ravi Patel) almost stealing the show in one hilarious scene. A goofy Alexander Skarsgård and presidential turn from Bob Odenkirk were also a highlight to see!
Overall, Long Shot is an often sweet and charming rom-com fantasy that’s actually pretty funny too – proving to be a great film for date night, as long as you suspend your disbelief!