Thursday, May 23, 2019

Long Shot

★★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

Seth Rogen films never seek to reinvent the wheel, but I love them nonetheless. I don't know what loving his style of mixing sex humor & weed humor says about me, but I'm drawn to that like a moth to a flame.

Long Shot is one of my favorite Seth Rogen comedies of this decade. The film follows Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen), a rambunctious & aggressive but nonetheless determined news reporter for a small liberal newspaper. However, the newspaper he works for has been recently bought out by Parker Wembley (Andy Serkis), a conservative media mogul. In protest, Fred quits; unfortunately, no one else will hire him.

Discontent with his current situation, Fred turns to an old friend, Lance (O'Shea Jackson Jr.). In order to cheer him up, Lance takes Fred to a charity event that night where Boyz II Men will be performing. At the event, Fred is surprised to see that Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) is there. Charlotte is one of the most popular members of the cabinet of President Chambers (Bob Odenkirk), & has been romantically linked to Canadian Prime Minister James Steward (Alexander Skarsgård). But Fred seeing Charlotte there is a blast from the past, as Fred & Charlotte once knew each other very well: Charlotte was Fred's babysitter & crush when they were in high school.

Charlotte has something big coming up: as President Chambers will not be running for reelection due to his interest in going back into acting, he is prepared to endorse her as a presidential candidate. After meeting up with Fred, Charlotte reads some of his articles & decides to hire him as her speechwriter, much to the chagrin of her head staffer Maggie (June Diane Raphael), who considers Fred to be way too outrageous.

As Fred & Charlotte begin to spend more time together, a romantic connection develops between them. But as the political spectrum grows tighter & the public becomes more receptive to Charlotte's ideas, their relationship might be over just as soon as it started.

The cast is fantastic. Seth Rogen is at his funniest since This is the End. Charlize Theron is as enigmatic as ever & is the funniest she's been since Young Adult. And O'Shea Jackson Jr. is a definite bright spot in his supporting role.

Jonathan Levine's direction is excellent. After hitting a couple bumps in the road with The Night Before & Snatched, Levine finally delivers on the promise he showed with 50/50, with his ability to keep the film on a consistently warm & hilarious tone, & some visual style.

And the screenplay by Dan Sterling & Liz Hannah is amazing. The plot feels refreshing, the characters are well-written, & the dialogue is clever & very funny.

This is the biggest surprise of the year so far. It's fueled by the cast (especially the chemistry of its two leads) & one of the funniest screenplays of the past few years.

Long Shot was seen by me at the MJR Marketplace Digital Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights, MI on Saturday, May 4, 2019. It is in theaters everywhere. Its runtime is 125 minutes, & it is rated R for strong sexual content, language throughout & some drug use.

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