I’ve been in the mood for a solid comedy recently, amidst all the huge summer blockbusters arriving early to the party. Seth Rogen is a little hit or miss for me but I was excited to see what Charlize Theron could deliver here. Was it good?
Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) is the Secretary of State, serving under a TV actor-turned-President (Bob Odenkirk) who has no idea what he’s doing. He tells Charlotte that he’s going to endorse her as she runs for President next. Her assistants (June Diane Raphael and Ravi Patel) have the job of boosting her numbers, especially as it relates to her sense of humor and ability to connect with her.
Insert journalist Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen), who was once babysat by Field and reunites with her. He needs a job, she needs a comedy writer, so together they adventure forth to spice up her speeches a bit.
We also have O’Shea Jackson Jr., Randall Park, and Andy Serkis, in some age makeup that left me stumped as to who he really was.
Surprisingly, Long Shot might be one of Seth Rogen’s best movies in recent years. At least, it starts that way, by going much deeper than I expected, exploring the idea of politics and morality, as Field (Theron) fights to push an environmental bill that other interested parties want to tear apart. It looks at American politics and how corrupted these politicians might be, or how much they can be bought for. It’s clever and relevant, and the lens of Rogen’s journalist character lets us also look at news and how we receive information in this modern day. There’s a lot going on here, that mostly worked.
The movie is also fairly funny (though I thought the movie was more witty than laugh out loud funny, which might disappoint you). It also gets progressively more typical Rogen as the movie goes on (which is my least favorite type of Rogen humor), so the final act felt a little underwhelming and maybe familiar to his other stuff as it starts to rely heavily on drug and sex humor. Might be your thing, and if so, you might love this film more than I did.
Charlize Theron knocks it out of the park here, with seemingly great and believable chemistry with Rogen. She plays a woman out of time, as she hasn’t had time to enjoy herself at all since entering the public arena. It’s nice to watch her reconnect with her youth and find joy again. She does great here.
Also shoutout to some of our supporting characters. Bob Odenkirk plays the current President and he’s hilarious in the few scenes that he’s in. Also stealing the show is one of Field’s assistants Maggie, played by June Diane Raphael. Now, this is an actress that you likely know her face but she’s never had a substantial role in a movie. Here, she nails it, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a launching pad for more leading roles.
What doesn’t work?
While the movie starts especially clever, it does devolve. There’s a scene involving our two leads taking drugs that feels very reminiscent of other Rogen films. The final act doesn’t feel nearly as unique or special as the first 2/3.
There are also some moments where the film maybe tried to insert a social message but it was off the mark. There’s a realization that one of our characters is a Republican and it feels like an after school special, feeling totally out of place.
Long Shot has a lot going for it. It’s surprisingly clever and witty, giving both Rogen and Theron some fun moments. However, it devolves a bit into the typical in the final act, though is definitely still worth watching. The supporting cast deliver plenty of laughs and most of you should have a great time here.