‘Long Shot’ Theatrical Review
More than likely during high school you had that one crush you probably never thought you had a chance with. The reason you could never get the courage to talk or ask them out could be for any reason during that time of adolescence. In high school different cliques and social circles form and you might have found yourself in a not so popular one while the person that made you twitter-pated was in the more popular circle. In high school I felt just that way. I remember in 10th grade walking into the student lounge and was suddenly pulled to a halt when my eyes noticed what I considered at that time the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. There sat before me a girl with long California blonde hair with a smile that was as perfect as her tan. All I could do for the next week and a half was think about her before I finally told some my friends I was going to ask her out. To my disappointment, none of my friends thought I had a chance and said I would just be making a fool out of myself. I was more on what was considered the geeky population of school, so because of that I had no chance with anyone outside my so-called social group. Because my chances were considered a long shot, I never built up the courage to ask her out. I never thought I would see her again until one day, by fate, as I was coming down the office elevator and stopped at the third floor and walked in. Immediately she recognized me and after talking for a few minutes we decided we’d grab drinks after work. Later on at the bar, it was a good hour after catching up and having some laughs that I finally confessed I had a crush on her back in high school. I wasn’t expecting much of a reaction, but she finally smiled back and asked, “Why didn’t you?” I realized that day the term long shot was as much fiction as the dragons from Game of Thrones. Anything is only a long shot if you allow yourself to believe you have no chance.
In Long Shot you never believe Seth Rogan’s character doesn’t have a shot with the Charlize Theron character, and aside from making you laugh, I think the director wants you to leave knowing nothing is ever a long shot when it comes to love. Rogan is widely known for his comedies of weed smoking and self-deprecation, but he also has an underrated charm that has worked for romantic comedies and does so here. Director Jonathan Levine is tasked with creating a rom-com much like Notting Hill, but instead of an actress falling for an owner of a bookstore, the romance takes place in the political scene. The script from writers Liz Hannah and Dan Sterling not only does this, but shows the misconceptions made of gender roles when dating while touching on different subjects of feminism to make for a rom-com that is different, but refreshing at the same time.
Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogan) is an investigative journalist who will go to the extreme to find the truth in the liberal views he believes in. When his Brooklyn newspaper is bought by cooperate tycoon Parker Wembley (Andy Serkis), Fred follows his beliefs of holding his finger up to the big media and quits, leaving him unemployed and extremely broke. His best friend Lance (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) convinces him to come to a party that night where the iconic group, Boyz II Men, is playing. Also attending the party is Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), the rising Secretary of State who is in line to become the next president, after receiving the endorsement from the President (Bob Odenkirk) who has decided not to run again because he feels he can best serve America by becoming an actor. Charlotte’s ratings are high in every subject but humor and she is looking for someone to help her in that department. After seeing Fred, she can’t help but feel she knows him and calls him over to join her. The reason she knows him is because she was his babysitter when they were growing up and he had a huge crush on her. Fred’s extreme and funny attitude is just the thing she needs for her do-gooder campaign and he is hired to write her speeches to bring the humor that is missing. This is not only Fred’s shot to make the difference in the world he’s been striving for, but maybe also have a second chance of telling the woman of his dreams what he wasn’t able to years ago.
The film is a combination of Hitch and Dave, but what makes this story about an average Joe falling in love with the one of the most powerful women is the dynamic chemistry between Theron and Rogan that unlike many rom-coms feel authentic. Some of the best moments of the film are when they are going over the do’s and don’ts of the speeches he is writing for her. It’s not just funny, but shows in the political world what might be considered acceptable for a male is not when it is a female. The director has them at odds at times, mostly for their different political views, but by not making everything happy it makes the relationship feel more real instead of the normal meet up and go on a date. Fred does have strong feelings for Charlotte, but doesn’t take the job because he’s had a crush on her. He believes in her policies on the environment and that is how he gets to know her better and admires her making the fact that he gets to spend time with the woman he has a crush on a bonus. When they finally fall for each other it doesn’t feel forced, but natural, and even more real when they must deal with how much they want it to be in the public eye.
Rogan, not typically known for this type of movie, but having worked on 50/50, Levine knows the strengths to make him shine in this role. Theron has dipped into comedy before, but this role shows she can create just as much laughs as her counterpart. She has the funniest part of the film where she is on drugs and must lead an international hostage negotiation. I’d love to see her do more comedies in the future. My only problem is I would have liked this film to be a little more about her journey than that of Rogan’s character. Theron shows what women who are in a public spotlight must go through to keep the confidence and remain cool to the American audience and that should have made her more of a focal point. Of course you’ll get moments of weed smoking and dick joke you expect when watching Seth Rogan, but it doesn’t need to rely on them to get laughs that helps make this one the best and most realistic romantic comedies of recent time that will make you feel like nothing is a long shot.