Film review, by Jason Day, of Long Shot, the comedy movie starring Charlize Theron as a well-groomed US Secretary of State who starts dating her scruffy speech writer. Co-starring Seth Rogen.
Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) is a respected investigative journalist, but one who refuses to cow-tow to the garrulous billionaire media mogul who has just bought the independent publication he writes for. After quitting, he finds himself out on a limb at a society party in which said mogul is present.
Also there is the beautiful Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) whom, coincidentally, was Fred’s first crush when she babysit him many years before.
Recognising him and, later, impressed by his writing, she hires him as her speech writer to help humanise her image in anticipation of a forthcoming Presidential election.
Despite sticking out like a sore thumb in political circles and looking like the polar opposite of his boss’ supposed type, the two start to fall in love. But it’s a relationship that has the potential to derail her political ambitions.
Review, by @Reelreviewer
Here’s a screen partnership I never saw coming.
And coming is the right word, as anyone watching this spunky comedy will find out after one scene that might become as notorious as a similar one in There’s Something About Mary (1998).
Long Shot – a cruder, gender-role switch-up of The American President (1995) – has two things that always mark out a great comedy. Firstly (obviously) it is very funny. At times, it is hilarious.
Secondly, the female and male leads, as different as they are, gel perfectly.
It’s a Long Shot to think of Charlize Theron – the stunning, statuesque South African famed for playing stunning, statuesque American’s – attempting comedy, for her career has been more or less rooted in drama or tragedy or tragic fairytale.
This is a brave attempt at a ‘gross-out’ laugh-along. That peerless beauty, refined air, impeccable clothing and slightly contemptuous, model’s smile (Theron hit the catwalk’s professionally in 1990’s), perfectly suited to the corridors of power scenes, leave her completely out of place in the later ‘crazy party-gal’ sequences.
Charlotte’s trip to a nightclub because she wants to try a ‘Molly’ (ecstasy) and get wasted is fun to watch – hilarious – but you never really believe her serious, buttoned-up character would let loose in such a way. It’s funny because we know this would never happen and Theron would never stoop to such a thing.
It would be too unethical, too unnecessary, too – unhygienic.
Rogen stars as – you guessed it – a stoner/party-boy. What else? It’s impossible not to like this admittedly very funny, tubby, hairy every-man and, despite the fact the romance is pure whimsy, there’s something very gladdening to see the underdog get the girl who champions the underdog.
Funny and surprising support turns include Alexander Skarsgard as a handsome but nebulous Canadian Prime Minister and, hidden underneath layers of prosthetic make-up, Andy Serkis as the greasy media billionaire.
The film plays with the idea – well, fact – that a buffoonish, former TV star President who is more interested in himself than the responsibilities of the Oval Office has degraded the respectability of this esteemed position to the point where practically any Tom, Dick or Molly can rock up there.
Surely, egalitarianism going too far?
The President here thus has paved the way for Rogen and Theron’s new style of power couple, for whom a ‘jizz-vid’ only adds more votes in the ballot boxes.
Given the stonkingly obvious parallels with real-life events, I worry what the political future will bring us!
Cast & credits
Director: Jonathan Levine. 2hr 5mins/125mins. AG Studios/Denver Delilah/Good Universe/Point Grey Pictures. (15)
Producers: A.J. Diz, Evan Goldberg, Beth Kono, Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron, James Weaver.
Writer: Dan Sterling, Liz Hannah.
Camera: Yves Beklanger.
Music: Marco Beltrami, Miles Hankins.
Sets: Kalina Ivanov.
Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, June Diane Raphael, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ravi Patel, Bob Odenkirk, Andy Serkis, Randall Park, Tristan D. Lalla, Alexander Skarsgard.