- Film & TV
- 10 May 19
Long Shot, a hilarious rom-com that tears into American Politics, is in cinemas now. Directed by Jonathan Levine, the film stars Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, June Diane Raphael, O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Bob Odenkirk.
Take the “slob gets dream girl” framework of Notting Hill, add lashings of political satire, power dynamics, and a Boys II Men-heavy soundtrack, and you’ve got Long Shot – an often hilarious, occasionally uncomfortable rom-com for the liberal stoner crowd.
Seth Rogen is on uproarious form as Flarsky, an unkempt journalist hired to write jokes for Secretary Of State Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) during her presidential campaign – a necessary evil in a world where female politicians are constantly derided as being “shrill”, “hysterical” and “bitchy”, while their male peers are applauded for being tough. But Field has another reason for hiring Flarsky. She used to be his babysitter, and as an adult she is intrigued by his political idealism and humour. If you’re keeping score, Seth Rogen’s man-child thus gets to live out the fantasy of scoring a) a potential President, b) Charlize Theron and c) the babysitter.
History will not be kind to the relationship’s problematic power dynamics, which are reminiscent of the therapist/patient romance in Levine’s 2011 film 50/50. But the two leads share a warm, sparky chemistry, with Theron acting as the perfect straight woman to Rogen’s rambling, uncouth Seth Rogen-ness. They’re helped by Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah’s screenplay, which has sensitivity and heart underneath the jokes. Conversations between Flarsky and Charlotte about the pull to abandon principles in order to win, not only capture the complexities of the political game, but the struggle of two people challenging each other to be better.
The supporting characters feature a delicious combination of brilliant performances and biting portrayals of American political figures – you can feel the SNL writers’ envy of the material. Bob Odenkirk is the perfect idiot-in-chief; Alexander Skarsgård is unexpectedly hilarious as a dorky version of Justin Trudeau; and Andy Serkis sinks his teeth into a merciless caricature of Rupert Murdoch. MVP, though, goes to O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Flarsky’s best friend, stealing every scene with his charm and splutteringly funny one-liners.
- Film & TV
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