A Longshot that hits the mark
Review: Long Shot
Starring Seth Rogan, Charlize Theron, Andy Serkis, Bob Odenkirk, Alexander Skarsgård,
Long Shot is the story of Fred and Charlotte, a seemingly unlikely couple that need to struggle to stay together.
Fred Flarsky is an investigative journalist who writes for a Vice-like publication, exposing truths in ways that corporate interests don’t want. Charlotte Field is an ambitious Secretary of State who convinces the outgoing President of the United States (Bob Odenkirk) to endorse her for a run at the top job.
After Fred quits his job during a corporate takeover, he takes on the job of speechwriter to Charlotte, punching up her material to make her more humorous. Working together, they develop a secret behind the scenes relationship.
Charlize Theron and Rogan share an unusual but easy on screen chemistry and Theron does well at a wide variety of comedic material.
All of this is very much in line with the Rogan formula, and here’s the rub: if you don’t like Seth Rogan’s past oeuvre, Long Shot won’t make you a convert. The usual story beats and gross jokes are all present, along with the obligatory music number. It’s a formula that works, and so there’s no blaming Rogan and co for returning to it. Needless to say, if swearing and drug references are things you find objectionable, this is one to miss.
For anyone who can look past (or enjoy the humour in) these aspects, there’s deeper meaning to be found in Long Shot.
The most obvious and direct of these is the way that the film takes down the notion of “punching above your weight.” Frank is deemed unsuitable as a partner, but this kind of way of viewing people is dehumanising and based on a system of social stratification (one that is outdated and antithetical to the Christian Gospel).
The film also has things to say in its second act about the problem of polarisation, judging people, and the inability to see things from others’ perspectives.
Beyond being formulaic, Long Shot has a few other quibbles. Bob Oedenkirk gets laughter points for showing up as the president, yet his role is so understated that this is where it stays. As witty as many parts are, the film lacks the punch and memorability of the better parts of The Night Before or This Is The End. Still, for fans of Rogan’s other films, there is a little gold to be found here.
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor