Over the years, Seth Rogen has been used as an example of the double standard in Hollywood. The male lead can get away with being “funny, but goofy looking,” while the female lead must still be a traditional pretty starlet. But, to his credit, Rogen appears to be aware of this, and at least jokes about how out of his league his love interests are.
His previous collaboration with Jonathan Levine, The Night Before (2015), did have the pleasant surprise of his character’s fiancée being played by equally unconventional looking Jillian Bell. But now, the latest Rogen-Levine feature, Long Shot, pairs him with probably his most attractive female co-star yet: Charlize Theron.
In a semi-modern, east-coast setting, Fred Flarsky (Rogen) is a popular newspaper columnist always on the lookout for any kind of big scoop. Charlotte Field (Theron) is the current Secretary of State to President Chambers (Bob Odenkirk), who has decided he’s not running for re-election so he can return to his past acting career. Charlotte sees his departure as the perfect time to run for the office and has his full support.
A series of unusual mishaps cause Charlotte and Fred to cross each other’s paths and she realizes that Fred might be a good fit as her new speech writer. They not only get along surprisingly well, but were neighbors during their childhoods.
Long Shot has a lot of funny scenes, especially involving the supporting cast of Odenkirk, Andy Serkis, June Diane Raphael and O’Shea Jackson Jr. There’s also a pretty amusing cameo by Alexander Skarsgård as a fictional Canadian Prime Minister. Theron and Rogen play off each other well, even if the pairing feels like it’s a decade late.
There are a couple of issues, though. One is with the political nature of the story. Both protagonists are liberal, with Levine and co-screenwriters Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah most likely liberal too, and the antagonist is a rich, sleazy right-winger. But there’s a squeezed-in sequence between Rogen and Jackson that’s supposed to be a ‘both sides are imperfect’ message that feels a little irrelevant by the end of the movie. It’s as if the creators wanted to make sure they’re getting both parties into the theater with just those five minutes.
Another problem is that the movie just isn’t entirely memorable. The comedy works in the moment, yet by the next day, I was having trouble remembering half of the film.
But for a last-minute date night or browsing the TV or streaming sites, Long Shot is decent enough.
Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge.