Long Shot

The Plot:

Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) is the overworked, driven Secretary Of State of the United States. When President Chambers decides he is not running for re-election, Field siezes the opportunity to set up a run for president.

Hiring idealistic journalist Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) as her speech writer, Field and Flasky embark upon an election campaign that few will ever forget.

Kent's Take:

“Long Shot” is the next comedy from the people who brought us “Neighbors” and “This Is The End.”

This rom-com is a Frankenstein monster of sorts – mixing its genres thoroughly to combine drama, comedy and romance in equal parts. Like Frankenstein, some will despise this film, while others will embrace its uniqueness.

Field is a go-getter and environmentalist and has been all of her life. Her confidence, intelligence and beauty are a potent combination. Fred is an over-cooked, unbending, socially awkward journalist who would rather quit his job on principle rather than allow himself to get fired so he could collect unemployment.

This film has heartfelt moments, laugh-out-loud comedy and smart satire that fuels its narrative.

In order to magnify the ridiculousness of reality, almost everyone is a target for this lampoon. White males, Republicans, Democrats and politicians are all skewered with the writer’s pen. Only women have a positive image in this film, they are smart, down-trodden and at the mercy of evil plotting white men.

As Field moves ever closer to the election, the pressures grow, magnifying her every decision. Yet, this also reveals that she has lost herself and has become someone she doesn’t recognize. Her constant compromises have diluted her vision.

“Long Shot” portrays politics as disingenuous, backstabbing and self-serving. It’s everything that politics shouldn’t be, but it’s what we’re stuck with. Every character in the film is flawed, except Charlotte Field. She is wisely set up as the heroine, someone who refuses to compromise her ideals, her goals and her relationship in order to gain power.

Where this film falters is in its portrayal of everyday drug use. Characters throughout the film are using drugs and alcohol as escapes and crutches, which is realistic and unfortunate. However, when Field parlays her drug-addled state into a successful international hostage negotiation, this film burst and derails the fairy tale it so deftly built.

“Long Shot” wraps up with a sincere message of unity and acceptance (politically, socially, racially and sexually). As Charlotte Field finds her stride and her pride, she decides to take the biggest risk of her political life – by telling the truth.

Lynn’s Take:

What a delightful surprise! Smartly written and perfectly cast, the sweet-and-salty “Long Shot” is a rare laugh-out-loud contemporary comedy with some heft to its idealistic political message.

The impossibly gorgeous Oscar winner Theron shows off her comedic skills well, and she and funny-man Rogen have a convincing odd-couple chemistry together. The opposites attract factor here is believable, helping to convey the more outrageous aspects of the story.

Sure, it gets a little raunchy – I mean, it is Seth Rogen – but it’s also a clever reflection of the times. Writers Dan Sterling, known for HBO’s “Girls,” and Liz Hannah, who co-wrote “The Post,” don’t scrimp on the political satire either. Bob Odenkirk as a U.S. President elected because he played a president on TV? Genius.

The supporting cast is a dream, including Alexander Skarsgard as the hunky – and single – Canadian Prime Minister with a few secret personality traits of his own, and Andy Serkis as an odious Rupert Murdoch-like media mogul. In a fun turn, O’Shea Jackson Jr. plays Fred’s best friend Lance. June Diane Raphael and Ravi Patel are comical as her handlers.

The awkward charm of Rogen combined with the elegance of Theron is a winning combination. She is so statuesque and glides in her glamorous scenes around the globe. His rough edges aren’t ever smoothed over, a plus.

The writers present a realistic portrait of world situations, not unlike those seen in CBS’ drama “Madam Secretary,” and director Jonathan Levine’s light touch make this fish-out-of-water excursion a pleasurable experience.