The last decade was not kind to romantic comedies. According to Business Insider, since 2010, rom-coms declined from nine major studio wide releases (an impressive number for the 2000s) to a grand total of zero in 2017.
Still, every once in a while an excellent entry in the genre breaks through to critical praise and mainstream success, including 2015’s Trainwreck, 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians, or 2017’s The Big Sick. Now, as we near the end of the decade, Long Shot joins those ranks.
We’ve seen this tape before: a typical Ted fortuitously flounders into an unlikely relationship with a lady way out of his league. Long Shot largely adheres to the tropes of this familiar story and still I found it consistently charming thanks to its sharp, well-intentioned social insights; cheeky sense of humor and irresistibly charming chemistry between its two stellar leads in Seth Rogen and Academy Award-winner Charlie Théron.
Rogen does great work well inside his comfort zone as Fred Flarsky, a goofy but passionate journalist and card-carrying Democrat who quits his job at the Brooklyn Advocate after the paper gets bought out by a giant media conglomerate run by a powerful mogul who believes that gay people cause hurricanes.
As you can tell, Long Shot is never subtle with the larger social and political points it’s making, but much like Fred himself, it’s always true to itself and never pretends to be something it’s not. I found this sincerity easy to admire, both in Flarsky and the film itself.
It goes without saying, but Charlize Theron is magnetic as Charlotte Field, the U.S. Secretary of State and hopeful presidential candidate. Every minute of Charlotte’s day is meticulously planned out and she spends the entirety of the film flying from country to country trying to convince each nation to join her Global Rehabilitation Initiative.
According to all the polls, Charlotte boasts an overall outstanding public image; however, because she’s a woman, her advisors suggest finding a speech writer who can help her sound hipper and looser with the voters.
Enter Fred Flarsky, who grew up next door to and was occasionally babysat by Charlotte when they were both teenagers. This means Fred knows Charlotte and is there to call her out on her political bullshit whenever she finds herself compromising her leftist ideals in order to further her career. It’s a compelling dynamic that richly and realistically allows these two people to explore themselves, their relationship and ultimately their individual integrity.
O’Shea Jackson Jr. scores a high laugh-to-screen-time ratio as Lance, the obligatory outspoken best friend to Fred who’s really just there to encourage his stoner buddy whenever life gets him down. That said, he’s always a joy to spend time with.
Director Jonathan Levine’s (50/50, Warm Bodies) film definitely doesn’t break any mold, but it excels at everything it sets out to do, which is mostly to make us laugh and go “Awww!” And Long Shot never ceased to make me do both.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 (out of five)
Have you had a chance to check out Long Shot? If not, do you plan on it? If so, jump down to the comments section below and let me know what you thought of the movie! I’d love to hear from you!