I’m always wary heading into comedies, and the majority of my reviews for the genre usually open with some intro along those lines. On the whole I’m usually disappointed with what I see, particularly as the trailers tend to show literally every single laugh out loud moment from the film, leaving very little else to enjoy. Mrs B joined me for this particular cinema trip, and we have a bit of a track record recently for picking movies to go and see together which then turn out to be a disappointment, so I was doubly worried. Coincidentally, as we pulled into the cinema car park, an ad for Long Shot played on the radio. It’s outrageously funny! Absolutely hilarious! The funniest movie in years! Etc etc… All the usual claims, and mighty big words to live up to.
Seth Rogen is Fred Vlarsky, a scruffy investigative journalist who we first meet while working undercover at a white supremacist meeting. The meeting naturally doesn’t go well, especially as Fred is a jew, and things only go from bad to worse when Fred finds himself out of work the next day. Meanwhile, we’re introduced to Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), Secretary of State with plans to run for president in the next election. She leads a very hectic life, barely getting chance for any downtime in-between working on improving her popularity score, constant phone call interviews and trying to deal with her bumbling, clueless boss, the president (played by Bob Odenkirk).
Fred’s best friend Lance attempts to cheer him up by taking him to a swanky party where Boyz II Men are performing, and it’s during this party that Fred and Charlotte both notice each other from across the room. Fred recounts to Lance an embarrassing story from when he was 13 and a 16 year old Charlotte babysat for him one evening. When the two meet up again at the party soon after, they immediately hit it off.
Charlotte is on the lookout for a writer to help write her speeches and hopefully boost her popularity score, so she decides to hire Fred on the basis that he’s likely to know her a lot better than anyone else and therefore likely to write better material for her. Fred immediately joins the team, travelling the world at Charlotte’s side and getting to know more about her in order to come up with great speeches.
Being a rom-com, it’s not really a spoiler to say that our two main characters eventually get together romantically. That being said, I felt the trailer for Long Shot pretty much gave away the majority of key plot points, as seems to be the norm these days, and I was left with very little that actually felt like a surprise when I saw it. Luckily, the final twenty minutes or so contain plenty of unseen material and themes, which despite becoming slightly absurd, actually contain some of the funniest and most charming moments of the movie.
How much hilarity you find in Long Shot is really going to depend on how much you like Seth Rogen and his particular style of comedy. If an overdose of f-bombs, dick jokes and drug related humour are your thing, you’ll be fine. To be honest, I’m not usually a big fan of his, although I do like a few of his movies. But thankfully, in this he wasn’t too overbearing, allowing Charlize Theron to shine through with her own fair share of funny lines and moments. Their characters, and most importantly their chemistry together, is totally believable, and makes the movie that much more enjoyable. Supporting cast consist of Andy Serkis as a creepy Rupert Murdoch/Donald Trump hybrid, but this is primarily all about the unlikely relationship between Fred and Charlotte, and for the most part it works extremely well.
I’m a big fan of the TV show Madam Secretary, which also features a strong lead performance from Téa Leoni as Secretary of State. Her character is also currently considering running for president, in a show with some tight, well written and at times witty, political story-lines. I couldn’t really help but compare Long Shot to that, and as a movie I felt it struggled at times to balance the tone and keep the pace, feeling way too long as well.