Director: Jonathan Levine
Starring: Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron, O’Shea Jackson Jnr, June Diane Raphael and Bob Odenkirk.
Seth Rogen’s unorthodox, slovenly yet successful journalist, Fred Flarsky, loses his job but manages to fall on his feet as he reconnects with Charlotte Field (Theron) the babysitter he used to have a crush on. Now flying high as the Secretary of State, with her eyes firmly fixed on becoming America’s first female president, she hires Fred to add some much-needed humour to her speeches in a bid to increase her popularity.
Sparks fly between the unlikely pair as they embark on a whirlwind tour of the world to raise awareness for one of Charlotte’s environmental initiatives. However, Fred’s unconventional approach to frontline politics doesn’t sit comfortably with some of Charlotte’s advisors and tensions within the group threaten to derail, not only her friendship with Fred, but also her bid for the presidency.
What follows is formulaic rom-com fare, but what sets this apart are the consistently funny gags, quality supporting characters and a pair of exceptional turns from the two leads. Though they seem like an unlikely pairing, and almost complete opposites of each other, there’s no denying the electric chemistry between them and their relationship is thoroughly charming and believable despite some of the contrived circumstances surrounding them.
Director Jonathan Levine ticks all the right boxes for a successful romantic comedy as he brings together a strong ensemble supporting cast including Bob Odenkirk, O’ Shea Jackson Jnr, June Diane Raphael, an intentionally charm-free Alexander Skarsgård and an almost unrecognisable Andy Serkis. All have their moments to shine and make the most of what they’re given.
Long Shot occasionally stretches the boundaries of believability. A hostage crisis involving some Class A drugs seems unlikely, but that isn’t to say it’s not funny. And Long Shot is very funny with highlights including cinema’s quickest sex scene and a There’s Something About Mary-esque “hair gel” moment that, ahem, comes out of nowhere. But there’s an awful lot more to it than a smattering of smut. There’s some clever social commentary on how women are perceived in the workplace and insight into the mutually beneficial relationship between politicians and mega-rich businessmen. Even Odenkirk’s President Chambers used to be a TV star. All highly relevant in today’s political climate.
At just over two hours, Long Shot is slightly too long, but full of laughs and features two endearing performances at its heart from Rogen and Theron. Politics both here and over the Atlantic hasn’t given us too much to smile about recently, so this film arrives at just the right time.
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Film critic. YouTube channel www.youtube.com/benpeytonreviews
Former actor. Band of Brothers, Emmerdale, Holby City and a regular (PC Ben Hayward) in The Bill.
Voiceover artist with Rhubarb Voices.