I love the moment the lights dim, the curtain widens and the movie starts. Going to the cinema is one of life's great activities and should be enjoyed as much as possible.
Published May 4th 2019
Madame Secretary, Seth Rogan is here to sleep with you
Long Shot is a comedy film starring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogan, who are an odd pairing for a romantic comedy. The film is directed by Jonathan Levine, who is a fairly inexperienced director.
The film tells the story of US Secretary of State: Charlotte Fields (Theron) who is planning to resign in order to run for President after current president Chambers (Bob Odenkirk) tells her that he does not wish to seek re-election. In order to set up her campaign, Fields is working on a 100 country environmental policy that she seeks to settle before resigning as Secretary of State. At a party, Fields bumps into Fred Flarsky (Rogan), a boy who lived next door to her as a child and whom she used to babysit. The two hit it off and the romantic comedy storyline begins.
But the film isn't just a romantic comedy. The film tries to be many things, including a political satire, a commentary on the terrible state of US politics, and a feminist piece. Odenkirk's president takes clear inspiration from Donald Trump, but sadly, his terrible character flaws should seem like weak character writing for the film, but in the current world political climate, it doesn't. In fact, he still manages to feel more presidential than Trump, even when he is practising lines for a terrible movie he wants to star in.
The political climate of media bias and money's influence in politics is also touched on, and somewhere in this story, lies the potential for a great political satire. However, the story keeps itself firmly aimed more at a romantic comedy audience, as well as a screwball comedy crowd that Seth Rogan is known to, leaving much of the political satire watered down. It is a shame because there are some nice moments in this film that were very interesting, almost feeling that at some stage in the drafting process, this film was a much more serious story. The film also presents many comments on gender identity and how woman have to navigate very treacherous waters in order to be in the public eye, have a relationship, and not suffer from slander and unfair opinions and judgments. At times, however, all of these threads are impacted by the crude sex jokes, thrown in at regular intervals to prevent the less politically interested viewers from falling asleep. The film does do a good of showing, if not a bit underdone, how political corruption destroys things such as environmental bills, with compromise and self-serving agendas getting in the way.
Thankfully, the film generally works in its more broad mainstream comedy stylings, despite several misfires. Whilst it does overplay many of its jokes, the film consistently manages to remain engaging for much of its run time of 125 minutes, something comedy films often struggle to do. It won't work for everyone, and the latter part of the second act does drag a little, but most people should enjoy the film on some level.
Theron is very strong as the lead and shows that she could easily play a character in a tough political drama. She has fun playing the comedy, although, at times, I wasn't fully sold with her character's more wild antics. Seth Rogan continues to hint at some ability to play a serious character, but he struggles to amp up his character's energy without resorting to yelling in a gruff annoying voice that wears thin very quickly (if you saw The Green Hornet in 2011, you'll know the voice). Rogan is used to comedy and feels more comfortable in the more comedic scenes, but there are a number of solid moments in his performance.
The relationship between Theron and Rogan is one of the weaker elements of the story, as the chemistry isn't really there. Levine has created a solid and enjoyable comedy film, that whilst it tries to cover too much ground, it still manages to hold together overall. It probably won't stand up to repeated viewings, but it's a worthy trip to the cinema in order to see a comedy with actual themes and messages, surrounded by more throwaway humour.