Long Shot movie still of Seth Rogen & Charlize Theron dancing

Long Shot

Long Shot is a diligently virtuous romcom customised for the #MeToo era. Safe and predictable mainstream fare good for a few laughs.

3 out of 5 stars

Review: (rolanstein)
Long Shot opens with a gratuitous skit in which white supremacist skinheads are made fools of by a Jewish infiltrator, bearded dude reporter Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen). Flarsky flees by jumping out a window. He not only survives what should have been a fatal fall, but lurches away to safety uninjured. Thus, the tone of the film is set – plausibility is not to be considered here.

That sorta undercuts the oh-so-diligent virtuousness of the film, which centres on the mission of 40-something Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) to run for President, and the female-specific obstacles and expectations she must negotiate. Does that tick the #MeToo box or what?

There are plenty of other boxes ticked, too. Charlize’s love interest is Seth whose character is, as always, a slobbish but endearing stoner fuck-up. So, a Jewish/WASP romance – tick. And Seth is younger to boot – tick.

But how did this impossibly unlikely pairing happen (apart from in a male screenwriter’s wet dream)? Well, we learn via flashback that Charlize was adolescent Seth’s babysitter, there was “chemistry” between them, and now, all these years later, circumstances have conspired to throw them back in each other’s orbit. That is, Charlize’s advisors think she’s not funny enough to appeal to the masses and leftie humourist Seth has just resigned from his newspaper due to it being taken over by a horrible right-wing despotic Murdoch type (tick), and…

Then there’s Seth’s best buddy, who’s black (tick) and, it emerges, a Christian Republican (cross/cross, but the opportunity is taken to suggest that friendship can overcome all hurdles – tick). Oh, and there’s a clandestine mixed-race affair going on within Charlize’s circle – tick. And unkind parodies of men in power that reference real-life (tick), like the incompetent ex-TV celeb incumbent in the Oval Office (Bob Odenkirk) who prefers to pursue a career in the movies to running for a second term. And the smarmy, good-looking and thoroughly insubstantial Canadian PM (Alexander Skarsgard). I could go on, but the point is made, I trust.

Yeah, yeah, but is Long Shot any good as a film? Is it funny? Is it entertaining?

Well, yes and yes – to a point. It works OK as a lightly satirical romcom, largely thanks to the two hugely popular leads. It comes as no surprise that the magnetically hot and gorgeous Charlize excels in comedy, since she hams it up in most of her films, even if they do not fit neatly in the comedy mould. She’s terrif. And Seth does all we expect of him, which is still enough, although the persona is wearing thin.

The gags and jokes are hit and miss, and those that hit induce more smirks than chuckles; there are not enough genuine LOL moments. And the film is way too long at 125 minutes. Overall, though, it’s good-natured mainstream fun, safe and predictable, and clearly aimed at liberal Gen Xers and like-minded younger folk – which comprise the bulk of the movie-going public. These guys will gobble this up hook, line and sinker. Cue the sounds of Hollywood moguls laughing all the way to the box office.

Movie Website: https://longshot.movie/

Long Shot features: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, June Diane Raphael, Bob Odenkirk, Alexander Skarsgard
Director: Jonathan Levine
Writers: Dan Sterling, Liz Hannah
Runtime: 125 min

Australian release date: Long Shot in Australian cinemas from 2 May 2019

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