Rom Com Formula;
With Political Satire
And Very Good Leads.
This is a very aptly titled film for a lot of reasons. The phrase “long shot” can apply to th notion of Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron even starring in a movie together to begin with, the idea that his character could get hers to fall for him, or her aspirations to climb to the very top rung of the political ladder (let alone with him at her side). They are all long shot concepts, but they work, and the result is just as enjoyable as it might be predictable.
It may fall into the romantic comedy formula after the halfway mark, but it starts off as a great piece of slightly subtle political satire. The president is a buffoonish ex-TV star with no experience, media conglomerates manipulate information by controlling the sources of output and putting cartoonish imbeciles on TV to spout their talking points, and people are ready for idealism to take charge over big business interests. There is no mistaking the message. The good thing about Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah’s script is that it gives us genuinely funny dialogue, real people and side characters that aren’t simple plot point directors. Everything feels like it has a purpose and it never insults your intelligence. It stays true to itself, just as the main characters strive to do.
There are people claiming this doesn’t work because you’d never believe that this guy could get this girl. But isn’t assuming what every woman wants out of a relationship pretty baseless and sexist? The point here is that it grows from a lifelong connection and intellectual respect, not simple physical attraction. The common bond of idealism between them is the driving force of not only the blossoming romance but, more importantly, Charlotte’s meteoric rise theough the political ranks. She doesn’t want to be someone who wins the game by playing it. She wants to be the one to change the rules. And yes, the relationship may seem shaky from a PR perspective, but again, it’s satire. And that idea is reinforced heavily and humorously in the final minutes with, no spoilers, the Todd McFarlane joke.
The humor in the script is great and provides a plethora of laugh out loud moments, especially given the wonderful (and unexpected?) chemistry of Rogen and Theron. They are a joy to watch together and director Jonathan Levine does a great job of letting Seth be himself, but reining it in just enough. For proof that he can nail working with his actors. Look no further than The Wackness and 50/50 (the latter also co-starred Rogen).
It’s not a new formula but it works. It has just enough raunch to stand out without being an identifying factor or feeling cheap. Long Shot has as much heart as it has humor, making for a great date night at the movies. I’m glad I was able to catch this with my wife (on the eve of the day we began dating, which started with a kiss right outside this very movie theater after I was done working a shift there) before the run ended.
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