Film review: ‘THE LONG SHOT’ by Nick Gardener from ‘Built For Speed’

Politically themed rom-com, The Long Shot is often predictable and occasionally crass but is at least partly saved through sporadic moments of genuine humour and ballsiness.

The film involves a concept less likely than a Norse god coming to earth and fighting aliens with a man in flying robot suit, namely the pairing of the stunning and elegant Charlize Theron with Seth Rogen.

Mr Rogen plays a kind of gonzo journalist, Fred Flarsky, whose left-leaning convictions lead him to quit his job when a creepy media mogul (Andy Serkis) takes control of the magazine where he works. In an astonishingly contrived sequence, Fred scores an unlikely invitation to a swish party where he reacquaints himself with his former baby sitter and tween crush Charlotte (Charlize Theron) who just happens to be Secretary of State and is hoping to run for US President at the next election.   When Charlotte offers Fred a speech writing job, long-held romantic feelings emerge but the idea of a presidential candidate hooking up with grumbling slob like Flarsky seems like electoral poison to Charlotte’s handlers. Hmm, an unknown loser guy romancing a powerful female public figure, sound familiar? Well, it’s essentially Notting Hill but with a less charming and funny male lead.

As it pursues Charlotte’s burgeoning but rocky political rise and the couple’s messy romance, The Long Shot strikes an uneasy balance between refreshing political satire and icky raunch comedy; a scene that recalls There’s Something About Mary’s hair-gel sequence but terrifyingly with Seth Rogen, will put people off their tea. Still, the film manages to take a few effective shots at Washington DC’s dubious white male political power brokers and the questionable media that feeds them and feasts on them.

Charlize Theron commands the screen as she does in most films and for the most part seems a smart political figure and credible presidential candidate. Her sudden transformation to wayward party animal under the tutelage of the insouciant Fred is pretty hard to believe, though, even in a quirky comedy. Rogen is exactly the same in this film as he is in every other movie, an amiable goofball who roars with croaky incredulity at the bizarre and disastrous situations he seems to land himself in. June Dianne Raphael and Ravi Patel offer reasonable support as Charlotte’s political spin doctoring team while O’Shea Jackson Jr falls somewhere between funny and annoyingly overbearing as Flarsky’s more right-leaning bestie. The Long Shot occasionally scores some effective political hits and a few genuine laughs but at just over two hours it outstays its welcome.

Nick’s rating: **1/2

Genre: Romantic comedy/ drama/ politics.

Classification: M.

Director(s): Jonathan Levine.

Release date: 2nd May 2019.

Running time: 125 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast.

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