‘Long Shot’ Awkwardly Combines Politics & Romance

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “Long Shot” is a bit of a hybrid that can’t quite decide what it wants to be. Is it a political satire, or is it another in a long line of Seth Rogen stoner comedies with a little rom com thrown in for good measure? It’s a little of both, with the shaggy dog stoner comedy the dominant form … making it a somewhat jarring and incongruous fit with the more political elements of this comedy.

Charlize Theron is Secretary of State Charlotte Field, who is planning her own run for the White House. Fred (Rogen) is a journalist for a “Vice” kind of news operation who quits his job when the site is bought by a conservative media mogul. He’s hired by Charlotte to help punch up her speeches to humanize her and raise her likability scores. But they also have a personal history, since she used to babysit him when he was in middle school.

Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen in ‘Long Shot’
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Seth Rogen’s schtick has long since lost some of its freshness, but he always manages to squeeze out a few chuckles while refusing to phone it in entirely. He also has chemistry with Theron, who is game for some of the more outlandish elements of this story. But as anyone who saw her multi-episode arc on the TV show “Arrested Development” can tell you, she’s got serious comedic chops, so her ability to light up a Seth Rogen stoner comedy should come as no surprise.

However, some of the standard elements of Rogen’s comedy formula don’t quite fit here. While it’s mildly amusing to see a Secretary of State go on a full blown drug bender with Fred in a Paris nightclub, it requires so much suspension of disbelief that even fully baked members of the audience may have trouble swallowing it. There’s also a big gross out scene that recalls Farrelly Brothers-style hijinks, but it never really gels with the overarching story or characters, and doesn’t earn the big laughs it’s supposed to.

The supporting cast is full of comedy ringers, but the political satire itself is strangely toothless. There’s Bob Odenkirk as a former TV-actor-turned-President who decides he really just wants to make it in the movies. June Diane Raphael plays the uptight Chief of Staff for Charlotte who tries to sabotage Fred at every turn, and an unrecognizable Andy Serkis plays the Rupert Murdoch-like media mogul. But there are some interesting twists here and there in the casting … I particularly enjoyed O’Shea Jackson Jr, as Fred’s self made best friend.

Party Over Country: Whooping it Up in ‘Long Shot’
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Seth Rogen isn’t quite the laugh riot that he once was, but he’s still relatively reliably watchable. This definitely won’t go down as an “American President” style satire of the times, but it will pleasurably kill a couple of hours when it shows up in your Netflix queue.

“Long Shot” opens everywhere on May 3rd. Featuring Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, June Diane Raphael, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Bob Odenkirk and Alexander Skarsgard. Written by Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah. Directed by Jonathan Levine. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters


© 2019 Spike Walters, HollywoodChicago.com

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