Recently unemployed journalist Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) stumbles into a new line of work after a chance accident reunites him with his former babysitter, Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron). As the US Secretary of State, Charlotte is promoting a bill designed to encourage more environmentally friendly practices the world over. She is also preparing to run for President in the coming election, and she hires Flarsky to be a speech writer on her team, much to the chagrin of her advisors. But when sparks begin to fly between this odd couple, and politics and personal feelings begin to mix, could everything Charlotte has worked for come crashing down?
Director Jonathan Levine delivers a colourful look at politics with Long Shot. This is an idealistic view of politics, one in which politicians - some at least - actually care about the work they're doing, beyond the usual approval ratings and expense claims. We will never see a politician like this, they'd either bend to the status quo or be forced out by the others. But enough about that, we can all dream about decent politicians later. This may be a romantic comedy, but Long Shot is still a Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg undertaking. As you would expect there is a lot of low brow hilarity, although they have dialled it back a little - I'm not sure anyone is ready for another "Sausage Party" just yet. Watch out for a tip on the perils of having a beard. But whereas their previous projects like "The Interview" and "This Is The End" have felt kind of stupid (in a good way), this is a little more grounded stupidity. A perfect example of this being an early scene in which Flarsky attempts to infiltrate a white supremacist gang, it's delightfully messed up...on so many levels.
Long Shot is a hilarious romantic/fish out of water comedy, and in the middle of it all are two perfect leads. Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen may not be the first two people you'd think of pairing up, but it is a stroke of genius. These two have perfect chemistry, there's a genuine connection between them, one that feels almost palpable. Watching a free-wheeling journalist like Flarsky, one who's been able to report on the issues without having to sugar-coat it, try to fit in with the political system is uproarious. And then on the flip side you've got Charlotte, an intelligent, sophisticated, elegant diplomat who has absolutely no life away from work. She's working toward the Oval Office, and now she has to deal with a care-free, dishevelled writer - one who clashes with everyone else on her staff. Seeing them meet in the middle, as they try to snatch a few private moments whilst also trying to do their jobs is where the real joy is to be had.
The movie does follow the generic rom-com format, but it is so much more than that. Unlike other rom-coms where certain moments are perfect, the writers have made some of those moments in Long Shot feel more awkward or clumsy, if anything it gives the movie an air of believability. And then there's the support cast - which includes June Diane Raphael, Ravi Patel, O'Shea Jackson Jr. and Tristan D. Lalla - either egging Charlotte and Flarsky on or trying to bring them crashing back to reality. Watch out for Bob Odenkirk as the President who would be better suited to a season of '24' than the real thing, Alexander Skarsgård's charisma-lacking Canadian Prime Minister and Andy Serkis ascending to Gary Oldman levels in order to bring the annoying rich arsehole to life. Long Shot may not be a realistic view on politics, but it does do a good job of pointing out some of the flaws in the system, and it will make you laugh so much that by the time it's done your sides will ache.
Thanks to some great writing, Not to mention brilliant casting and two leads with perfect chemistry, Long Shot is laugh-out-loud funny from start to finish. In fact, this could easily be one of the best comedies of the year.
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