Saturday, 21 September 2019

Long Shot ★★★★☆

I’m not a massive fan of stereotypical romantic comedies. You know the ones, where the humour is cheesy and the content of the film tends to avoid major talking points in favour of a purely relationship-driven storyline. I get why they appeal, but I prefer something a little bit more original when it comes to love within film. ‘Long Shot’ (directed by Jonathan Levine) is one of those rom-coms that feels different to others in the genre, and I really appreciate it for that.

Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) is an opinionated, liberal journalist who ends up rage-quitting his job due to the newspaper being sold to a multi-conglomerate. Whilst at a party with best friend Lance (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), he stumbles across his old babysitter Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), now the smooth and refined Secretary of State who is soon to be running for President. Charlotte ends up hiring now unemployed Fred to become her punch-up speechwriter, and as they two get to know each other they realise that sometimes opposites really do attract.

Seth Rogen is generally a pretty funny actor however I’ve found his films to be hit and miss and I’m never quite confident that the humour as a whole is going to work. In ‘Long Shot’ he shines though, bringing hilarious one-liners throughout the film and excellent chemistry with Theron, who gives an equally excellent performance – not only funny but really highlighting the career disadvantages that are still present for many women today. There’s a whole host of commendable acting, from Bob Odenkirk as idiot President Chambers to a completely unrecognisable Andy Serkis as newspaper billionaire Parker Wembley (both of whom might seem familiar to you…)

The comedy writing is on point during the whole film, and the script tackles some really key themes, from career-focused women to the concept of selling out vs. staying true to your beliefs. There’s a powerful scene during the second half of the film, wherein a character realises that they have become too polarised in their opinions – I was glad to see real, current affairs highlighted in cinema,  especially those causing division. It was well done, as were the multitude of other scenes where we got to see the negative character traits as well as the positive ones (no Mary Sues here, which I’m always appreciative of).

I wouldn’t say it’s a film that’s meant to be taken too seriously  – while there are some powerful underlying messages, at its heart ‘Long Shot’ is really showing us that whole ‘Humpback of Notre Dame’ style plot where the seemingly undesirable character is the one the princess falls for. The difference is that it’s both modern and unique, with a great sense of humour and excellent character development thrown in as well. Whilst a couple of scenes are perhaps too silly or unrealistic, I found it overall a great watch, and a must for anyone that enjoys that particular Rogen style of humour.

Hannah Read

Long Shot at CeX

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