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Long Shot Review: Hits Its Target as a Progressive Rom Com


Long Shot is the story of Secretary State Charlotte Fields (Charlize Theron), an emboldened woman with sights on becoming the nation’s first female president. As Charlotte learns that she may be able to procure the endorsement of some high-ranking officials, she begins her exploratory campaign and assembles her staff. After a random encounter, she includes Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogan) in her ranks as a speechwriter given that the two were childhood friends. Fred’s lack of a filter makes Charlotte laugh and her ambition inspires him—the two soon fall into a romantic relationship with all the complications that come along with it.

What works in Long Shot is the chemistry between Theron and Rogan and the majority of the subverted expectations. The blossoming romance between Charlotte and Flarksy feels very human. It also helps that the majority of the moments that fuel the relationship are private ones between the two, helping the somewhat cliched subplot of external onlookers believing the pair are woefully mismatched. As such, the outspoken wonder of “what does she see in him?” is more justified than in other similar films given the structure director Jonathan Levine (50/50, Warm Bodies) employs, but Long Shot also does an excellent job of making it clear why and how these two individuals complement one another, making the attraction between them very natural.

RELATED: Check Out The Long Shot Trailer

Long Shot does a fairly decent job of gender role reversal with its themes, but wisely doesn’t use it as a crutch. Charlotte often acknowledges that being in a position power as a woman puts her in a different situation than her male counterparts, but the core of the story is less about one’s sex and more about the compromises public figures are compelled to make that are often and unfair and hypocritical. Charlotte is consistently being forced between something or someone she believes in or a smoother path to the presidency. Her navigation of the political minefield with the humorous no-nonsense Flarksy at her side to guide her is what keeps Long Shot interesting.

While Long Shot has good intentions regarding using a new lens to tell a familiar tale of romance amidst status inequality, it often falls into tropes which undermine its identity. The clearest examples are the supporting players for Charlotte and Flarksy. For the Secretary of State, it is Maggie (June Diane Raphael) who spends the entirety of the film telling Charlotte how much she loves her (without ever really listening to her) and scowling rudely and unnecessarily at the mere presence of Flarksy. And Flarsky has Lance (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.) serving as an unbridled cheerleader of encouragement to “go out and get the girl.” Furthermore, Long Shot can’t quite decide how grounded in reality it wants to be. The majority of the film wants to examine what life would actually be like for the two lovers, but often sneaks in a preposterous situation or line of dialogue that breaks the suspension of disbelief at the expense of an attempted joke.

Long Shot is a clever premise with some interesting things to say and plenty of humor despite being a tad bit disjointed. That said, there are far worse ways to spend your time than watching Theron and Rogan try to make each other laugh while they fall in love.

Recommended if you enjoyed: The American President, Knocked Up


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