Long Shot review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso
Long Shot would seem like it could be a bold political statement of a picture in its satirization of the political system and the media coverage. But, much like other Seth Rogen produced comedies that touch on relevant topics, the film merely dances around its subject to provide more questioning than commentary. This usually rubs me the wrong way because in its place is usually a pretty vapid comedy born from the Rogen school of dude-profanity. Thankfully, Long Shot presents itself mostly as a romantic comedy that is surprisingly sweet and sincere.
Rogen is in his element as Fred, a reactionary leftist reporter willing to do anything to get the biggest scoop and make his morality clear. He’ll venture into Nazi dens undercover and go far as to quit his job when his publisher is bought by a right-wing conglomerate. In need of a job, he finds himself in the ideal position of being approached to be a speechwriter for Secretary of State, Charlotte (Charlize Theron). He’s known her from childhood after they shared an awkward kiss when she was his babysitter but she doesn’t remember him at first. They catch up and hit it off well, especially when doing so at a dinner party with musical guest Boyz II Men, who just happen to be their favorite.
The two are perfect for each other because it seems the whole world is against them. Charlotte’s informers believe associating with Fred is a bad idea not just for favoring a journalist with heavy political thoughts but because he dresses like the neon-1990s never died. They see him as a danger to her inevitable campaign for the Presidency and they’re not too far off in terms of media perceptions. Similarly, Charlotte is not as well regarded as a political figure. Her current project is an environmental deal she wants to get the rest of the world behind but is finding herself constantly stripping down the details until so little can be done for the environment. Both of them will bicker and slowly have their judgment clouded in their ideas for their end-goals but they love each other so much that they’re willing to make some big sacrifices.
While Rogen and Theron bring all of the tenderness in their cute scenes of pop culture gushing and political back-and-forth, the supporting cast pulls in beautifully as the comedy underdogs. O’Shea Jackson Jr. plays Fred’s best friend of a powerful boss that pushes, nay, shoves him into love with an inspiring and bold nature, making great snarky comments along the way. Bob Odenkirk plays the President of the United States who is so disengaged with his policies he views this position as little more than a springboard to get into movies. Andy Serkis does an exceptional job oozing into the role of a right-wing media mogul that makes an obvious slimy take on Rupert Murdoch and his Fox News machine. Even the Fox News satire is right on point with a Fox & Friends parody of two men making sexist and racist remarks, the female anchor sitting between them looking very uncomfortable behind her grin.
Yes, in case it wasn’t clear, Long Shot wears its politics on its sleeve but only to the same loose degree that Rogen’s comedies all tap-dance around. The sentiment of the film is still relatable and charming considering it embraces the belief that truth may damage but still set you free. True, by the third act, the film does kind of spin this mantra into a bit of a fable but by this point in the film it's more about the romance than any forwarding of current event politics. And for that, Long Shot is exceptionally cute and lovable, even for a film with loads of profanity and another load in a gross-out moment.