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Long Shot


‘…two likable stars keep Long Shot watchable, but it’s a shame the script goes low when it should be soaring high…’

When Seth Rogen first appeared in a puff of dubious smoke, he offered a new type of male lead for the 2010’s. A slob, a stoner, but also a decent guy and a buddy, someone to pal around with, Rogen’s charms worked well in Knocked Up, Pineapple Express and Bad Neighbours, but less so when squeezed into vehicles like The Green Hornet. Long Shot is a romantic comedy set in the world of politics, re-uniting Rogen with director Jonathan Levine, who worked with him on cancer dramedy 50/50. The role of Fred Flarsky, a shambolic political activist/journalist who ends up writing speeches for Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) suits Rogen fine, but more problematic elements let Long Shot down.

Probably the biggest issue here is that 2019’s political landscape is so extreme that fiction can hardly keep up; a throwaway line about ‘gay marriage causing earthquakes’ is about as close at Long Shot gets to addressing the game-changing events of Donald Trump’s tenure. Instead, there’s a very weak joke about the president (Bob Odenkirk) wanting to give up the White House to re-ignite his acting career; such quaint vanities are not the ones an audience will likely recognise as current.

As Fred and Charlotte navigate various foreign backdrops and put aside their differences to fall in love, there’s little satire or commentary, just some fairly goofy rom-com antics. Things liven up when corporate forces attempt to blackmail Charlotte into dumping Fred, and a positive message about truth just about gets out. But the equation of Fred’s enthusiasm for self-stimulation with the hidden mistresses of US presidents feels like a stretch, and repeated use of Roxette’s It Must Have Been Love from Pretty Woman suggests a bald attempt to push the audience’s buttons by evoking ancient glories in the rom-com genre.

Worse still, a crude sequence in which Charlotte has to defuse a potentially life-threatening hostage situation while ‘accidentally’ under the influence of ephoria dance-drug molly is exactly the kind of tired, contrived wackiness that Rogen’s blunt approach once seemed to be the perfect antidote to. Two likable stars keep Long Shot watchable, but it’s a shame the script goes low when it should be soaring high.


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  1. Good review. The whole film comes off as a lazy cash-grab. Theron performs well in spite of the derivative script, which seems like a focus-grouped Frankenstein of “stuff people liked in other rom-coms” and “stuff people liked in other Seth Rogen movies.”

    • Totally. Theron elevates the material, but it’s lowest common denominator stuff. Still, passable enough, but hardly a screwball revival.

  2. I think I liked it just a bit more, but I’m certainly not going around bragging about it. The script definitely operated several miles below the stars’ performances. A handful of humorous scenes doth not make a great movie.

    • Some bit do land, and it’s nice to see a proper out and out comedy, but this really needed to be sharper, particularly with such known names…

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