Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Movie Review: "Long Shot" (2019)

Director: Jonathan Levine
Year: 2019
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes

Idealistic journalist Fred Flarsky gets a job as a speechwriter for Secretary of State and future presidential candidate Charlotte Field, who also happens to be his childhood crush. As the two spend more time together, they begin an unlikely relationship that many in her inner circle fear will hurt her chances to win the presidency.

Long Shot 2019 movie still June Diane Raphael Charlize Theron Ravi Patel
"He said hurricanes were caused by gay marriage. I don't even know how that fucking works." (Image Source)
Sometimes in life and in cinema, you see a couple and, on paper, think there's no way that they can work out, but then you see them together and feel their chemistry and suddenly realize that it makes perfect sense. Such is the case in "Long Shot" (2019). This movie is directed by Jonathan Levine, who is known for directing such films as "The Wackness" (2008), "50/50" (2011), and "The Night Before" (2015). It is written by Dan Sterling, who worked on TV shows like "King of the Hill" and "South Park," and Liz Hannah, who wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-nominated feature "The Post" (2017). This film tells the story of Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogan), an idealistic journalist who always puts himself at risk to get great stories and exposés. When a large conservative media giant buys the small news outlet where he works, Fred Flarsky quits on principle and in protest. In an attempt to cheer him up, his best friend Lance (Oshea Jackson Jr.) takes him out for a good time. They wind up at a party that is also being attended by Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), who was Fred's neighbor and babysitter growing up. She also happens to be his childhood crush. The two meet up at this party, and upon hearing he is out of work, Charlotte hires Fred as a speechwriter for her upcoming presidential campaign. As the two begin to spend more and more time together, they hit it off, as unmatched as they may seem. Some of the people who work for Charlotte believe that Fred is a bad match and could hurt her prospects as a presidential candidate.
O'Shea Jackson Jr. Seth Rogen Long Shot 2019 movie
"My love for the GOP and G-O-D has nothing to do with us." (Image Source)
'Political satire,' 'romance,' and 'stoner comedy' are three genres that we would not expect to be mashed together into one successful film, but "Long Shot" (2019) manages to blend them rather seamlessly, even with a pair of lead actors who, like their characters, on paper, we would not imagine working out. However, Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen's chemistry is what makes this movie as successful as it is. Theron is an Oscar-winning actress known more the dramas she has been in, but people seem to forget that she has continually shown her excellent comedic timing throughout her career. Theron does a fantastic job as Charlotte Field, a character who puts on full display the struggles faced by women in positions of political power. Most of the time, because of the nature of her job, Charlotte is required to remain composed and plays things cool even during the more hard-hitting, serious moments. She is eventually forced to compromise her ideals and deal with people who don't take her seriously because she is a woman in a historically male-dominated field. Once she teams up with Fred Flarsky, a guy with his heart in the right place but an inability to think about things from outside his own perspective, the more lighthearted aspects of the film begin to take place (e.g., Charlotte and Fred being stoned out of their gourds on Molly before she has to take a crucial phone call). Seth Rogen's Fred falls right in line with characters we have seen him portray in the past, so how much you like him here will depend on how much you have enjoyed him in his previous works. Still, their dynamic is different enough that it'll keep audiences interested in the "will they/won't they" aspect of the story. It's also nice to see a man wanting to give everything up to be with a woman, which doesn't happen too terribly often in rom-coms. It's usually the other way around. Underneath the dick and drug jokes, "Long Shot" (2019) also lampoons the current state of political discourse we see in the world today as polarized ideologies clash at every turn with flames fanned by mass media companies that are more mouthpieces for political propaganda rather than conveying truthful information. The entire point of the thing stresses a message of compromise because, in the real world, it is a necessity, and trying to help people realize that you should not be defined by your political party but by your individual actions. Though this message does feel a little shoehorned into the plot, we still respect and value this notion. Some have questioned the believability of some of the scenarios that happen throughout the film. Well, we are frequently made to believe movies about aliens as fact without question, why is something like this so hard to accept?
Long Shot 2019 movie still Charlize Theron Seth Rogen
"Luck is for losers. Destiny is on your side." (Image Source)
Whenever we watch comedies, the biggest question is, "did (insert title here) make us laugh?" The answer to that is yes, "Long Shot" (2019) made us laugh. It might not be the best comedy of the century, but it's a solid romantic comedy that's surprisingly super sweet, charming, and has a compelling commentary on women in positions of power and the men who want to be with them. Take a chance on this movie!

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.2/10
RT Rating: ~81%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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