Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron co-star as an odd couple in “Long Shot.” The film follows an awkward, foul-mouthed drug loving journalist Fred Flarsky (Rogen) and United States Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Theron.)
When Theron’s Field recognizes Fred from her childhood through a chance encounter at a media conglomerate party where Fred takes a violent fall down the stairs in front of Boyz II Men they, oddly enough, reconnect. Field, who has a secret killer sense of humor, subsequently reads some of Fred’s articles. Admiring his witty, yet edgy journalistic style she unilaterally hires him as a speechwriter, much to the chagrin of her campaign manager who is steering her image in a bid to become the first female President.
As unique of a premise as this is, and as much as I individually enjoy both Theron and Rogen as actors, the pairing was awkward for me. When they were simply co-workers it was an uncomfortable watch, but when a romantic comedy element was added about halfway in it really made me cringe and seemed grossly out of place. It wasn’t about looks either, so much as it was their contrasting demeanors. Although Theron executed a nice performance, maybe it was her icy look that didn’t add that fun element comedies so desperately need in the lead female character in order to make the romance believable between them and an awkward, less attractive guy.
Though a beautiful blonde, Katherine Heigl, worked so well for Rogen in the classic 2007 comedy “Knocked Up” he simply did not have the same chemistry with Theron and her looks aren’t as friendly. Not to mention Rogen’s character easily influencing her to take molly, after which a wasted and high Theron secured the release of a hostage. I don’t know, that part was just not funny to me. When I think of political hostages I think of innocent Americans like the late Otto Warmbier and poking fun at, or making light of a Secretary of State trying to secure a release for people who are basically tortured was weird and pretty gross to the point where I’m surprised that scene made it past the cutting room floor.
The rest of the plot was confused throughout, it’s almost like this film didn’t know what it wanted to be and was trying to say too many things. It tried to make a political statement, show men and women as equals, show successful women and random, idiotic men as pop-in characters; including Bob Odenkirk playing the President of the United States and Andy Serkis as media billionaire Parker Wembley.
I can’t really put a finger on what exactly went wrong here, but it was almost like someone wrote a bunch of skits and separate scenes and then tried to stitch them together and make it into a feature.
Putting every negative aside, sorry, there are a lot; one element of this piece I enjoyed was the power structure between Charlotte and Fred. It was nice to see Fred willingly take a back seat to Charlotte’s success. Seeing a man support a woman in a film and not mind stepping behind her was a breath of fresh air, it’s just too bad the movie wasn’t. If it were it could have been a groundbreaking step for women in comedy, and romantic comedy in particular.
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