In Brief: Billed as a romantic comedy. This one is short on comedy but long on romance.
Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen star. She is Charlotte Field, the nation’s Secretary of State. Charlotte serves under a president who’s just about as deep as the head of a pin. Sound familiar? He a former TV star and hints to her that he’s not going to run for a second term. The guy wants something deeper from life. Deeper than the presidency?
She wants to run for president and asks for — and gets — his endorsement.
Rogen plays Fred Flarsky. He’s a journalist bent on exposing all of the conservative evils of the world. Flarsky is devastated and quits his job when a Fox News-like conservative media conglomerate buys his newspaper.
It also turns out that Flarsky and Field knew each other as kids. On the day Flarsky quits they attend the same high-society party and she recognizes him. Since Field is running for the highest office in the land, she needs a speechwriter. He’s unemployed and a brilliant writer.
Can romance be far behind?
Of course not. That’s the point of the movie. Fred is a poorly dressed goof. She’s drop dead gorgeous and stunning. This is a romantic mix always found in romcom movie heaven.
Oh, and Long Shot is billed as a romantic comedy. It is and it isn’t. Isn’t? Yes, the film has laughs. That’s the comedy part. They’re not the bust-a-gut variety. However, a line here and there will get you to laugh out loud.
This is where the “isn’t” part comes into play. The film is more romance than comedy. The best parts involve the sweet and blossoming love between two characters who manage to almost be three-dimensional while locked in a story that stereotypes them, and is a stereotype itself.
Stereotype is Long Shot’s biggest problem. The plot is packed with bad Republicans, evil conservatives and — must we? — a presidential candidate push with the environment at the center of the campaign. The script also presses time and again how much we need to finally have a woman in the White House, and how sexist conservative media is in covering her campaign.
And then it manages to — stereotypically of this plot genre — find ways to derail her campaign. The romance and the campaign crumble in such a predictable fashion that it gets laughs of the unintended kind.
What saves Long Shot is Theron and Rogen. They have great chemistry and manage to sell beauty and the beast bonding. Without that chemistry, and a couple of believable performances, director Jonathan Levine’s (Snatched) film, and the often piffling plot from Dan Sterling (Rogen’s dumb comedy The Interview) and Liz Hannah (The Post), falls flat.
Don’t see this one for the so-so comedy. It is just funny in spots. See it for the romance. It is the romance that works all the way through and makes this one worth seeing.
Director: Jonathan Levine
Stars: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, June Diane Raphael, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ravi Patel, Bob Odenkirk, Andy Serkis, Alexander Skarsgard, Tristan D. Lalla, Randall Park
The chemistry of Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen sell this one. I didn’t find it all that funny but loved the romance. This is a good one. Give if a 3 1/2 out of 5 on the Friday Flicks with Gary 0 to 5 scale.
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Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.