Long Shot is another on-point balance of comedy and sincere emotion from director Jonathan Levine. Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen are the cinematic pairing that we never thought we'd need, yet are sure glad that we got. Long Shot will make you laugh in ways that you didn't know were possible.
Director Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies, 50/50) re-teams with frequent collaborator Seth Rogen for Long Shot, a political romantic comedy (that’s more than a mouthful) about being true to yourself and never compromising.
Long Shot follows presidential candidate Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) as she embarks on her journey of attempting to become the first female president of the United States. In order to boost her ratings and likability, she has been tasked with hiring a writer to punch up her speeches and give her a dose of character and authenticity.
She hires an old friend from school that happens to be at the same party as her, by the name of Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen). Where Charlotte is firm and confident with a dash of professionalism, Flarsky is firm and confident with a dash of arrogance and stubbornness.
Still, the two’s old chemistry reignites as they start chatting and eventually the two start falling for each other.
Now, a movie like Long Shot could have gone in all sorts of directions. It could have been a self-absorbed political backlash by director Jonathan Levine and his team, as people of Hollywood clearly have the ability to make movies about whatever the heck they want, whether it’s an agenda or an actual story.
Long Shot could have also been about the unlikelihood of a guy like Seth Rogen landing a gal like Charlize Theron. Heck, Long Shot could have been just another Seth Rogen “stoner” comedy that tries so desperately to be about something, but falls back into that relaxed chuckle that Rogen loves to belt out as he lights one up with his buddies in front of and behind the camera.
Fortunately, Long Shot is about so much more. Yes, it has traits of all of those things, but at its center it’s a love story between two people that may appear completely different on paper, but aren’t so different if you strip off all of the bullshit expectations and assumptions.
Long Shot is about honesty, truth and integrity. It’s about following your heart and meaning what you say. Director Jonathan Levine balances a near-perfect script from Liz Hannah and Dan Sterling in a way that feels sincere and endearing.
Jonathan Levine is no stranger to finding raw emotion in the most unlikely of places, directing gems such as Warm Bodies and 50/50 — two movies that looked like products of their times (Warm Bodies capitalizing on the teen romance mixed with a popular sub-genre and 50/50 being another Seth Rogen and Friends Face an Awkward Situation film), yet Levine’s ability to harbor such intimate feelings that are authentic and real pushed the films beyond their grasp and into truly special occasions.
Long Shot is his best film since 50/50 without a doubt.
Charlize Theron is an absolute ass-kicking rockstar as Charlotte, the most deserving person to ever possibly be called the First Lady. Charlotte is a woman with a moral compass and a heart of gold that truly believes in herself and what she is doing. She wants to change the world and feels that she absolutely can with the right team and the right support. She’s not just another politician built on lies or compromise, despite Seth Rogen‘s Flarsky highlighting some of her weaker moments. After all, she is human and she tries her best to make sure everybody wins.
Seth Rogen‘s Flarsky is a proud American that’s vocal about his political party and lack of religion. He quickly judges those that don’t agree with him, which is the most on-the-nose commentary of today’s society, yet Rogen plays it well and wise, never making us hate him, yet never making us think he’s a complete joke.
This might be one of Rogen’s most mature and well-rounded characters to date. Flarsky is still somewhat of a stoner, but he’s also a man that knows what he wants, but also one that eventually understands the concept of respecting others and truly listening to them.
Flarsky’s transformation in the film might not initially feel all that important, but it’s a reflection of what America so desperately needs as a collection of people. What happened to our compassion and our ability to come together towards a common goal or purpose?
Levine’s decision to focus on the romance between Flarsky and Charlotte is a bold choice that pays off. Some might be disappointed, because Long Shot is unarguably a romantic comedy more than it is a political satire. But that’s fine, because it says just as much, yet manages to capture even more emotion and more heart.
It’s a feel-good political movie, which isn’t something I thought could exist in this day and age. There are no agendas pushed as the film’s romance heats up. Sure, there’s some satire and poking on all sides, but the film’s heart is Flarsky and Charlotte.
I’m glad that the film is so much more than the trailers paint it to be. Long Shot overcomes its own title as it transforms into a film that successfully captures the idea of a relationship that nobody else would ever imagine come true, but only because of our own pre-determined judgements and remarks.
Long Shot far exceeded my most reasonable expectations, because of Jonathan Levine’s ability to tell complex stories in a way that feels effortless and free flowing. Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron are the power couple of the year.