Entertainment » Movies

Long Shot

by Padraic Maroney
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Jul 16, 2019
'Long Shot'
'Long Shot'  

Available digitally today!

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The last time that Seth Rogen attempted to get political in a movie, an international incident ended up occurring in real life. "The Interview" was an over the top satire about journalists recruited to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Needless to say, the film wasn't received well by the country's leader.

The good news is that Rogen's new politics-based film won't cause any problems among those with nuclear weapons and itchy trigger fingers, but "Long Shot" also doesn't have much else to offer audiences, either.

Fred Flarsky (Rogen), a left-wing liberal reporter, quits his job when the magazine he works for is bought by an alt-right publishing magnet. While crashing a fundraiser with his best friend, Fred runs into his old neighbor — who just happens to have grown up to be the Secretary of State (Charlize Theron), and who is about to announce her candidacy for President. In a decision that can only be surmised as a mixture of sleep deprivation and pity, Charlotte hires Fred to join her campaign as her speech writer.

What follows is the only-in-Hollywood fantasy of the oafish slob who is able to woo and win the heart of the girl who's seriously out of his league. The question at the crux of the movie, which her campaign manager hilariously illustrates with a power point presentation filled with mismatched couples, is what does she see in Fred? There's never a moment where they click, and the chemistry between the actors doesn't radiate off of the screen. In fact, during Fred's first real test of whether he can handle his new job, he only provides Charlotte with ample reasons to fire him.

"Long Shot" might be billed as a Seth Rogen film, but don't be fooled — Theron is the real main attraction here. From the moment she first appears onscreen, she steals the film from the actor. In a role that fits her like a glove, the actress elegantly glides through the film as if she is actually running for office. Despite embodying the role, the film goes to great lengths to show how exhausting it is to be Secretary of State, Theron truly just looks bored throughout most of the film.

Rather than taking the time to fully flesh out any of its characters, "Long Shot" focuses its energy on making a big show of all of the international locales that they travel. Running over two hours, there should have been more than enough time to develop the characters beyond their initial elevator pitches. If it weren't for a strong supporting cast, led by June Diane Raphael as Charlotte's campaign manager, it wouldn't even be worth remembering their characters' names.

Along with being a romantic comedy, "Long Shot" also offers a satirical look at today's political landscape. Writers Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah, who both have resumes filled with politically themed projects, make no effort to hide who they are basing their characters on. The President is a dimwitted television star who doesn't have any interest in actually running the country, and he is loosely controlled by the owner of his favorite facts-adverse news source.

The problem with entering the satirical arena of current events is that Trump has been parodied and lampooned so much already. If you are going to target him, you have to make it count and bring something new to the table. Even with the Canadian Prime Minister (played by "True Blood" star Alexander SkarsgÄrd), they focus on him having to create a fake laugh and smile. The satirical humor on display is so dull that it simply bounces off its victims, instead of piercing any vital organs.

While "The Interview" wasn't a good movie, it will be remembered for the chaos that its release rained down on Hollywood. "Long Shot" won't be so lucky. It reinforces that this is Charlize Theron's world and we are just living in it. Theron keeps audiences on their toes as she seamlessly slides between genres without being pigeonholed, elevating B-level movies into something worth watching. She may be the best part of the film here, it would a long shot to think that she alone can save it.

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