“LONG SHOT” premiered at SXSW and stars Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen. Jonathan Levine directs this story that follows Fred Flarsky, a journalist that ends up reuniting with his childhood crush Charlotte Field when she makes a run at the United States Presidency. She was out of his league then. She is out of his league now. But there could be some possible sparks between them with Flasrky coming back into her life at the right time. When she needs someone that she can simply be herself around.
I was excited for this movie despite the formulaic foundation of it. I love comedies, Charlize Theron, and Seth Rogen, so it all seemed like a potentially perfect fit to me. Despite being an all-around amazing actress, I think Theron has a great comedic sense to her. I think her timing and blunt delivery is routinely amusing and I would love to see her in more genre films like this. As for Rogen, well I feel there is a lot of his personality within my own, so I tend to find even his more over-bloated humor to be on the amusing side. So, there were naturally some built-up expectations for this movie with me. Not for it to deliver an ambitiously creative story-line. But to simply make me laugh with likable characters that captured charming charisma through their personalities in a story that could generate humor.
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Which is exactly what this move was able to do. I wanted to like it, and I ended up loving it. I was slightly worried with Jonathan Levine directing. I didn’t really enjoy “Snatched” all that much despite being excited to see a return from Goldie Hawn. But I did love his film prior to that being the holiday comedy “The Night Before.” The scripts were drastically different in those movies, so going into this one I was optimistic. This is the third Levine/Rogen collaboration and it’s clear their humor is on the same page because this was a surprisingly hilarious film. The screenplay from Liz Hannah and Dan Sterling was sharp and clever but also crude and ridiculous which was a perfect fit for this plot.
I enjoyed how the story was able to build the connection between these two characters. It was a simple ‘opposites attract’ scenario but there was heart and sincerity woven into the backdrops of who these characters were. This was able to sell me on how they could be attracted to one another. Specifically, to see how Theron’s character could see Rogen’s character appealing despite their differences in life stature and economic status. We all can see how he would be attracted to her, she’s a strong, intelligent, goddess and a successful business woman. But rather than simply slapping them together and expecting the viewer to just take it at face-value, this script was able to build connections between them. Some of their similarities personality wise were explored with comedic results as were some of their differences. A few that maybe ended up being things they had in common which still was able to translate into solid laughs.
These story and character elements sold me on believing these two characters could grow to find comfort in one another. Something that was subtly touching amid all the amazingly crude and raunchy humor. Humor that came from the dialogue, the scenarios birthed throughout the story, and most important from the performances of Theron and Rogen. Their chemistry was fantastic and the timing between them was extremely natural making their back-and-forth’s come across as authentic and amusing. Rogen was his usual self which worked for this role he was Rogen being Rogen and it worked for the needs of the story-line. Theron to me was the subtle anchor the movie, she was a great addition to the comedic-relief, and she was the single person who elevated this movie above the many other comedies similar to it.
This is certainly more of a rom-com than it is a political comedy despite a strong influence of it. But Theron still was able to capture the presence of a political figure taking her shot at the presidency. When she is in the public-eye she is tense and tightly wound despite still carrying a charm about herself. Something Theron captures with ease. Then when behind closed doors and in the company of Rogen’s free-spirited Fred Flarsky you can see and feel the release of pressure in her. She can be herself without judgement and it was able to bring the story some solid humor, but also able to convey why these two people found love.
These subtle emotional layers were genuine and surprisingly sweet which actually complemented all the drug and sex references like peanut butter complements jelly. Everything in this movie, despite many familiar tropes just seemed to fit perfectly together. It does run a little long but only briefly as I think many scenes work for the needs of the story progression. I have no doubt I will like this movie more than most, but I think it was a success. There were moments here and there where it feels like an assembly-line comedy, but it wasn’t a hindrance. With Theron and Rogen being a surprisingly perfect fit and seeing them as these characters was a heartfelt raunchiness that delivers a great time at the theater.