Film Review Longshot

This image released by Lionsgate shows Seth Rogen, left, and Charlize Theron in a scene from "Long Shot." (Murray Close/Lionsgate via AP)

Seth Rogen is someone who is an acquired taste, especially his films. 

Comedy is the trickiest of all the film styles in my opinion. What is considered funny is not funny to everyone. Then, even if the jokes land and/or a film is considered funny, how funny is it? Comedy, even when considered funny, may be hilarious to one and only merit a chuckle from another. The entire genre of comedy films is ever changing. What a person found funny at age 10, they may not at 50. There is also what the question of what comedy is acceptable by society as a whole.

A film like “American Pie” that was once a huge hit and socially acceptable, in 2019 is not in many ways. Personally, I didn't think “American Pie” was ever all that funny, but it was a hit and people did think it was. My comedy has to have a little dryness and be thought provoking. 

The slapstick/stoner style comedy of Seth Rogen has never been my type of comedy or one I thought was overly funny. Seth Rogen’s best work, for me, came in 2009’s “Funny People.” That is until I saw “Long Shot” over the weekend.

“Long Shot” follows Fred Flarsky who is a gifted and ideological journalist, one who often finds himself butting heads with people. When Fred unexpectedly runs into Charlotte Field, played by Charlize Theron, they both remember their childhood when Field was Flarsky’s baby-sitter. Charlotte Field is one of the most influential women in the world and is on the fast track to being the first female President. Charlotte, who always thought Flarsky was funny, decides to make him her new speech writer, since polling revealed many people thought Charlotte Field the politician wasn’t funny. The hiring of Flarsky kicks of a raucous series of events culminating in the two falling in love with each other. 

Charlize Theron is glue that makes “Long Shot” a cohesive film. Theron is an accomplished actor often great actor and in “Long Shot” she makes Seth Rogen better. In “Long Shot” Theron is relatable when she can be, commanding when she needs to be, and funny when she has to be. If there was no Theron in “Long Shot,” the film would just be another Seth Rogen stoner comedy with way too many drug references and too much slapstick humor. Theron adds depth to the film and the story. She also adds a layer to Rogen that is not often seen in films. Rogen becomes less annoying or cloying in his humor in “Long Shot” and never wears out his welcome as he often does. 

Rogen, like Linda Cardellini from a couple weeks ago, is another “Freaks and Geeks” alum. As I did with Cardellini, I prefer “Freaks and Geeks” Rogen over anything he has done since. Rogen still brings the obligatory stoner comedy stylings and a few slapstick moments.  he brilliance behind “Long Shot” and its humor is the satirical side of the comedy that is in “Long Shot.” 

“Long Shot” is a mixture of stoner/slapstick and satirical comedy, especially the political satire. In “Long Shot” there is a satirical version of Fox News that is often the butt of jokes. The faux Fox is often used to comment on social paradigms and many of the social movements of the last couple of years, often to comedic effect. These jokes are thought provoking and funny, at least to me. “Long Shot” is a very self aware comedy that never over steps many the social bounds of its own political/satirical comedy.

Theron and her character of Charlotte Field comment often on the treatment of women, especially around powerful men, leading to a pleasing side story line of the two main characters dynamic with a powerful newspaper owner. 

“Long Shot” delivers humor and most who like Seth Rogen will not be displeased with “Long Shot,” but the best “Long Shot” has to offer is its rom-com side. The romantic comedy aspect to “Long Shot” is underrated. The trailer bills the film as another Seth Rogen style film, but “Long Shot” is better than that. “Long Shot” provides a love story that is joyful and relatable. 

Although, Theron and Rogen may not be your a-typical couple or pairing, they have chemistry on screen. Chemistry is key when it comes to romantic comedies. If the two leads in a romantic comedy do not have chemistry then you can forget the film even coming out to be a decent film.

I am not sure if it is Rogen’s goofy aloofness or Theron talent as an actresses that delivers the chemistry between the pair but both come together nicely in “Long Shot.” The film “Long Shot” in its entirety may be an acquired taste, much like Rogen. The comedy won’t be for everyone, especially the political satire. 

Some may even dislike the pairing of Theron and Rogen. Charlize Theron seems to make Seth Rogen better and “Long Shot” provides best on the rom-com level with a healthy dose of comedy. Personally, I do not ask for much more than that from a rom-com. Do you need to though? The bar may not be high but “Long Shot” hits it and exceeded my expectations. 

Expectations that were admittedly low, one could even say I thought the film was a long shot. However, acquired taste or not, “Long Shot” is entertaining comedically and satisfying romantically.

 

IRATE SCORE: 3/5

 

Jason Guyer is an avid moviegoer and works in the graphics department at the Eagle Times. For questions or comments he can be emailed at guyerj@eagletimes.com.

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