Story: Fred Flarsky wants to be a stick-it-to-the-man journalist. But when his indie paper gets bought out by the big boys, he quits…just in time to run into his former babysitter, Charlotte Field. Secretary of State Charlotte Field. Running for President Charlotte Field. She needs a speechwriter. This seems like a good fit. Cue hijinks!
Genre I’d put it in: Fun, Irreverent Romantic Comedies
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Totally based on real life. Sike! It’s an original. (But I wish this was really happening.)
Gotta say: Be you GOP, Democrat or something else entirely, it’s safe to say that we all have problems with politics. Nobody feels like every single bit of our political climate is a-okay at all times. And that’s what makes us such a crazy, wonderful (but yeah mostly crazy) country. Long Shot looks at the process of running for office, throws in an unlikely romance, and asks they question; but what if we had someone really cool and really competent? How’d that work? I don’t know about real life, but in Shot it works great.
As the unlikely (but made for each other) pair, Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen are obviously having a blast in their roles. Theron gets to flex her comedic skills playing the straight man to Rogen’s unfettered wild child, and these two have an onscreen chemistry that’s off the charts. Yeah I said it. And yeah I’m happily surprised. But these two really tear up the material in the very best way. To dad-pun it, they don’t make this romance feel like a long shot. *rimshot* While Field plays straitlaced, she loves letting loose, and though Fred is a major fuck-up, he has genuine talent with the written word and an ability to get to the heart of what Field is desperately trying to get across to the public.
Director Jonathan Levine takes his time building up the attraction between the two, and the screenplay by Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah allows for the ups-and-downs that any couple would go through. But y’know, with Embassies and spies instead of what to watch on Netflix or Thanksgiving family drama. That they end up together – oh c’mon now, like there’s any doubt – feels true, even though they seem like opposites. Kudos to the creators for the slow romantic build that lets us see how each compliments the other, and for making us believe it.
While a good 90% of this film is hilarious banter and/or crazy situations, there are moments of realness that let Theron do her dramatic thing. Field, disenchanted by the deals she has to make while trying to pass an environmental bill, questions her life. “I don’t wanna do this anymore…it all gets undone.” And the casual misogyny of politics (and digging into female public figures’ private lives) is brought up as well. These bits are breathers in-between all the funtime, but they’re definitely relevant to our real world.
Does this film take a few pot shots at current events? Abso-freakin’-lootely. There’s “Wemsley News”, a thinly veiled Fox riff that dials the real channel’s worldview up to 11 then breaks the knob off. And Alexander Skarsgård plays a too-hot-for-words Canadian Prime Minister…but let’s just say he’s not as smooth as Trudeau presents himself. More comedic roles for Mr. Skarsgård, please and thank you! Let’s just say that you’ll have to dial believability way down to truly enjoy this film. Don’t think about what would really happen, just go with what’s happening on screen and enjoy the moment. I would, however, absolutely love someone whose campaign slogan is some form or “Field Day Noize”. Get on that, 2020 hopefuls!
One last thing. This is a film with Seth Rogen, so Seth plays Seth. Expect lots of drug references – “Drugs love a Jew!” – and absolutely cringe-worthy embarrassing moments for poor Fred. One of which harks back to films like There’s Something About Mary and American Pie. So get in your favorite crazytown headspace and let it roll. Also, be aware you’ll probably want to dance in your seat thanks to the fantastic 80s/90s soundtrack that includes Boyz II Men, Roxette, and Bruce Springsteen. I say go for it; anyone who calls you out can answer to me.
So go see Long Shot. Have a great time. And if you’re like me, hope that we get someone at least half as cool and competent someday.
#Protip: Keep an eye out for one of my favorite TV comedic actors, Randall Park (Fresh off the Boat); he plays Fred’s soon-to-be former boss at the beginning of the film. Man, I can’t wait for Always Be My Maybe…hmm. Shot could be a great double feature with this upcoming film. *ponders*