REVIEW: Chemistry with leads boosts ‘Long Shot’

What? No general or midterm election this year? Well let’s have a political film to fill that gap. At least it’s a comedy.

“Long Shot” tells the story of Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), the Secretary of State for a fictional president, who’s looking to run in the 2020 presidential race. She has a good amount of experience under her belt, but her campaign staff sees opportunities to improve her speeches and become more personable.

Enter Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen), a loose cannon investigative journalist who recently found himself unemployed. However, because he knows Field, Fred comes to work as a speech assistant for Field, especially with helping punch up the statements. However, on top of working together, Frank and Charlotte find themselves falling for each other.

On a purely romcom basis, “Long Shot” works pretty well. The development of the relationship is well paced here, giving enough time for the two to kindle a banter and friendship, then eventually romance.

Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen in “Long Shot.”

There’s a definite chemistry between the characters and the relationship the leads have is enjoyable and funny to watch. While there is a bit of a cliche’d nature with the relationship, with one being more quirky and the other acting more straightforward, it still works onscreen thanks to both the writing and the performances.

However, without narrowing the focus to the romcom aspects, “Long Shot” does stumble a bit. Politics and elections obviously play a big role in “Long Shot,” but much of it is portrayed at such an absurd, over-the-top level that it can become unconvincing and take a viewer out of the moment.

That’s not to say all of these aspects fail, some of the takes on the current political climate are pretty good and can produce laughs. Yet there are also several moments where a sequence seems too ridiculous. The movie as a whole isn’t benefited from a runtime that comes in just a tad too long, either.

As previously stated, though, the film is benefitted from its leads. Rogen does have solid comedic timing and does solid work in his role here. Theron, meanwhile, is of course a fantastic actress and plays her role convincingly, while also delivering on the humor front. It’s also beneficial that the two have a nice chemistry on screen.

In terms of supporting cast, a big shout-out has to go to O’Shea Jackson Jr. After already showing he has good skills in movies  in “Straight Outta Compton,” Jackson Jr. follows up by displaying some comedic chops. In “Long Shot,” he show impressive screen presence, with a lot of charisma and charm.

One area where the film falters are a few of the other characters, mainly Charlotte’s campaign staff. Maggie (June Diane Raphael), is written as overly-antagonistic while Tom, portrayed by Ravi Patel, just doesn’t have much character in general.

Again, as a romcom, “Long Shot” works, and some of the political humor is effective. Plus, the main cast members and their respective characters are strong. However, the film goes a bit too long, not all of the political aspects work and some side characters could have been better. 3.5 out of 5.


Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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