Starring: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, June Diane Raphael
Director: Jonathan Levine
Running Time: 125 mins
Long Shot is an American film about a journalist who reunites with his first love, who is now the Secretary of State. Having lost his job and successfully hitting it off with her at a party, she hires him as her speechwriter in her run for the Presidency, where their relationship grows closer.
While it’s not quite the world’s most surprising or ingenious comedy, Long Shot is full of laughs and thoroughly likable characters and romance, centred around two wonderful performances from Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, both of whom make a somewhat overlong and often predictable romantic comedy a delight to watch throughout.
Let’s start on that point, because although you can certainly say that this isn’t an entirely orthodox romantic comedy, the core of the story does focus on that romance, and that wouldn’t work at all without those two genuinely delightful performances.
Although she doesn’t often find herself in roles as relaxed as these, Charlize Theron is both really funny and really likable in her role, brilliantly carrying off the duplicity of a professional and competent woman who still longs to let her hair down once in a while. Alongside her, Seth Rogen also puts in a great show, and unlike some of his more generic roles, there’s something a little more grown-up and measured about his character here, which comes through in endearing fashion by way of his performance, rather than the juvenile stoner that we’re often used to seeing him portray in this brand of comedy.
And that, too, was one of the biggest surprises of Long Shot for me. Yes, it’s a comedy, and it’s got a lot of silly, light-hearted humour, but there’s something that feels a lot more grown-up about it than what one would typically expect from the likes of Seth Rogen. In that, its calmer, more measured persona makes it a far more likable and engaging watch than simple, juvenile chaos, and also works well to make the core romance a little more elegant and moving at the same time.
Of course, I can’t say that the story is full of original ideas, and the core arc of the movie – centring around the romance – is entirely predictable from the get go. However, with that slightly more measured and calm atmosphere, as well as the two hugely entertaining performances, the film’s emotional core takes on an incredibly endearing dimension, with a sweet and genuine romance that’s delightfully reminiscent of Roman Holiday.
Theron and Rogen play up the gap between their respective characters well, and that plays in excellently to some of the film’s more awkward scenarios, as well as some of the more interesting dramatic and emotional conflict, but their chemistry is such that their relationship is entirely endearing throughout. And as the film shies away from too much moronic revelry (there are still a few scenes for fans of that however), it all comes across in both a surprisingly elegant and genuinely charming fashion.
All in all, Long Shot has the laughs, the likability and even the calm and measured nature to make for a thoroughly enjoyable watch, but it’s only for a really predictable story and the odd frustrating and jarring descent into more juvenile antics that it falls down. On the whole, it’s not a perfect movie, but one that will certainly give you a good time nonetheless, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.