If I told you there was a political rom-com starring Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron you would probably think it is a parody film. But it is the exact opposite. A premise that could be a disaster – turns into a fun comedy romp with an unlikely pairing that works incredibly well. Surrounded by a great supporting cast ‘Long Shot’ finds it voice for each character early on in the film and finds the perfect intersection for each personality to create a laugh a minute film.
Director Jonathan Levine (50/50) takes on raunchy rom-com that stars Rogen as Fred Flarsky who takes a job with Charlize Theron’s character, Charlotte Field, the Secretary of State, who is about to begin her run at a Presidential bid.
Flarsky is a dumpy investigative journalist who goes undercover to expose a neo-Nazi gang in the over-the-top opening scene that sets the tone for the film, only to get fire from his journalism job the next day when an evil corporation buys the outlet he writes for. His rich childhood friend Lance (O’She Jackson Jr.) take him to a fundraising event where Boys II Men are playing. Cue the nostalgia from Jonathan Levine.
In a chance encounter at a black tie event Charlotte runs into Fred. She can’t quite place where she knows him from. Then it all comes rushing back as Fred reminds her she babysitter him when she was 13 years old. He had a huge crush on her and took a bit chance by trying to get his first kiss from his older crush. Things go array when he pops a boner and get made fun of. Smash cut back to present day when Charlotte decides to hire Fred to be her new speech writer for her upcoming Presidential run.
‘Long Shot’ is a true under dog story that seems unbelievable – but lets be honest – in today’s political climate anything is possible. So while this seems pretty far-fetched it doesn’t feel completely insane. Which in itself is kind of insane.
But Fred faces some competition from the prime Minister of Canada played by Alexander Skarsgård. Skarsgård comes off as creepy and needy whenever he is around Charlotte. However the optics of a power couple like the Prime Mister and Secretary of State is said to play better in the polls rather than Charlotte being with someone that is more like an average everyday fella. Bringing it back to today’s political climate, that a woman has to appear perfect to beat a man in the 2020 election regardless of her competition. If you can suspend the relationships disbelief the movie is allowed to fulfill what it sets out to do. Which is make you laugh with some compassionate moments tucked in between as the characters build an unlikely chemistry.
“It’s Pretty Woman, except she’s Richard Geer (Charlize) and you are Juila Roberts (Seth)” – O’Shea Jackson. This kind of sums up the relationship between the two characters perfectly. Minus the prostitution part. But from a chemistry standpoint it nails it.
Even with a two hour run time ‘Long Shot’ flys by and has pretty good pacing. With a hilarious opener, gems in the middle and the most memorable jizz scene since something about Mary, the film embraces the embarrassing moment and turns it into a heartfelt moment in some ways. How many films can you say that about?
‘Long Shot’ hits on theaters May 3rd, 2019.
THE AFTER SHOW: Kickin’ it Old School
After each film at SXSW the cast always comes out for a Q&A session. This was no different. But instead of an extensive Q&A Seth Rogen introduced Boyz II Men who sang two songs and handed out roses to the crowd. As they serenaded the crowd you could see one of them dancing with Charlize on the side of the stage ending the song with a peck on the cheek.
GREAT PROMOTIONAL ITEM: The Windbreaker
Fons PR and Paramount knocked it out of the park when a select few attendees were treated with the aqua blue and magenta wind breaker that Frank Farlarsky’s (Seth Rogen) character wore in the film. Fans were clamoring to their the hands on this limited edition promo item. It was on the best promotions I had seen for a film at SXSW. In addition to the windbreak they also gave everyone in the audience a $10 concessions credit for a drink.
The culmination to a great premiere.