Long Shot (2019)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy  |   Run Time - 125 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Steven Yoder

Director Jonathan Levine (Snatched) has collaborated wonderfully with writers Dan Sterling (The Interview) and Liz Hannah (The Post) to develop a fine romantic comedy that doesn't dig too hard or deep into its own politics but still remains poignant.

Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) is a journalist who works for a publication that is being taken over by a corporate conglomerate with views he strongly opposes. He can't stomach having his principles destroyed, and quits. Bummed out, he begrudgingly agrees to go to a party with his best friend Lance (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) to try and lift his spirits, but only because Boyz II Men will be performing. There he encounters Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), the girl who used to babysit him - and is now US Secretary of State with a larger dream - to become President. When she realizes who he is, she asks him to write for her campaign. It isn't long before they enter into a not-so-secret romance that threatens to destroy her chances at the polls.

Despite this bleak-sounding set-up, the script is frequently light-hearted and entertaining, especially as their romance blooms. It has the tender moments, as well as the pitfalls, that are expected of any romantic comedy - all handled well. While it doesn't work the political angle too much in either direction, there is one two-minute scene that does a wonderful job of encapsulating personal prejudices with hilarious results.

Levine works hard to pull the most out of the actors and his efforts show. Rogen is his typical self, but showing a slightly more mature and tempered control of comedic timing. Theron is spot-on as Field, playing the part in dramatic, touching, and humorous moments with equal skill. Surprising us yet again with his measured versatility, we find Andy Serkis as Parker Wembley, the hard-right publisher that purchased Fred's employer.

The musical selections throughout the film work well to both keep the pace and fit the mood. Boyz II Men's cameo appearance is a memorable moment showing that their voices have matured into a silkiness that fans will appreciate.

Long Shot is one of the best romantic comedies in a long time, and despite its often-raunchy material it should be incredibly entertaining for adult audiences who appreciate either this type of humor or this kind of genre of film. Those who like both are in for a rare treat - a long shot combo that happens to hit the bulls-eye.