Going into Long Shot I had the exact same negligence that I had last year when seeing Game Night. For those who know me, know exactly how that turned out and somehow, miraculously Long Shot played the exact same trick on me as Game Night did Back in 2018. Long Shot is a surprise from all angles and winds up being a hilariously filthy political comedy.
Jonathan Levine is a moderately competent director, with a majority of his films bringing me joy and clarity within a depressing theme or an outrageous stoner comedy, such as 50/50 or The Night Before. However, Levine didn’t deliver on his previous project, creating a horrendous, annoyingly unfunny comedy starring the creative minds of Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn. Luckily while his direction isn’t the most brilliant thing about the film, it truly works for the content here and once again reuniting with Rogen was exactly what the director needed. As shown in his prior work with Rogen, he can make a genuinely unique drug use scene in any film, this one being no exception and the gross out humor really works in this format with everyone involved having a ball performing the material.
The plot follows Charlotte (Charlize Theron), active Secretary of State, as she looks to advance in her political career by enlisting the talent of recently laid off gossip magazine writer, Fred Flarsky. Flarsky is a callback to her childhood as she used to coincidentally babysit for him, until one embarrassing embrace makes the two’s relationship fall apart until their reuniting more than twenty years after the fact. Along the route to her presidential campaign, Flarsky must begin to learn more insight about Charlotte's life in order to write speeches that obtain to her particular mindset; a type of mindset that doesn’t reflect in Flarsky’s usual writing. The story revolving around romance in politics may have been a mistake if not handled so gingerly by writers Dan Sterling (The Interview) and Liz Hannah (The Post). The plot can be fairly predictable, but the characters and actions involved in moving the plot makes the predictability forgivable at almost all times.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron are electric together, which is something that came out of absolutely nowhere. The trailers leading up to the film made it seem otherwise for the duo, yet the leads’ relationship actually works surprisingly well, and although slightly rushed, still remains incredibly effective. Beyond the romance, there are mostly great things surrounding the two, but not enough of it to make the background actors matter. Rogen’s friends, Theron’s team, and their mutual rival played by a heavily “made up” Andy Serkis, who is a nice surprise even if his character is a generic corporate overlord, all seem insufficient compared to Rogen and Theron sharing the screen alone. Beyond Serkis, Alexander Skarsgård is the only purely wasted talent in the film, as his inclusion seems much more like a glorified cameo than a respectable role.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
I can’t say that I loved the score Marcos Beltrami and Miles Hankins composed for Long Shot, primarily due to the fact that I can’t remember it whatsoever. It’s the solid selection of 80s, 90s, and modern pop songs that make the scenes work so well in the film. One of the highlights of the trailer is that it showcases the way the music motivates the scenes, whether it being an intimate dance in a kitchen or a night on the town.
This is where the film suffers most prominently. The CGI effects are poorly rendered and were obvious afterthoughts, seen most notably in a brief bombing scene. All exterior aerial travel looked incredibly false in contrast with the backdrops. Theron, Odenkirk, and Skarsgård represent the good, the bad, and the style of a politician, while Rogen’s style reflects a slacker lifestyle who wants only his own way. A grotesque bodily error on Flarsky’s part near the conclusion marks a realistic exchange that comes with much shock.
Long Shot, originally titled Flarsky, is the surprise comedy of the year, delighting with its crude and finely calibrated humor that makes its 125 minute runtime soar by. While aspects of the story may not surprise in their direction, it’s Theron and Rogen’s immense charm that sends this political comedy into hyperdrive - making the more predictable set pieces unanticipated.