Starring: Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen
Directed By: Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Night Before, Snatched)
Runtime: 2 hours 5 minutes
The romantic comedy is a dying genre.We say this a lot, especially when a good one comes around.There’s likely a multitude of factors.We know the outcome, they can be hokey/unrealistic, and they’re not all that funny.Longshot is an attempt to not only nail the romantic comedy, but elevate it.
Longshot is the story of Charlize Theron’s character, Charlotte, she’s the Secretary of State for a President who was a TV star and wants to leave office to make the jump to movies.Which sparks a great movie debate, won’t get into it here.Charlotte would like to run for President.Turns out the public doesn’t think she can be President if she’s single.She also is deemed to not be very funny.In an attempt to punch up her speeches on the campaign trail, she hires a writer, played by Seth Rogen, who she knew from high school.
The odd couple, of course, hits it off, and they get to know each other in the closed quarters of a campaign trail.Seth Rogen plays Fred Flarsky, basically the same pudgy/funny/dopey/man-child he always plays that Adam Sandler also played for 20 years before Rogen broke big.
Where Longshot dares to be different here is that the power dynamic is flipped compared to most rom-coms.Theron’s character is the powerful one, the earner, the leader.And the movie doesn’t beat you down with that fact.It isn’t designed to scream “female empowerment”.It just sort of exists.And goes unnoticed.
In a lot of rom-coms, you’ll see one person have to give up everything to be with their love interest.A dramatic scene where the lawyer leaves the courtroom to run down Fifth Avenue and scream to his lover, “I WANT TO BE WITH YOU”.That doesn’t happen here.For the most part, this is grounded in more reality than most movies in the genre.Neither person has to change their entire self to be with the other person, a nice thing to see in a movie.
Longshot isn’t sappy.This is a comedy first and foremost.Fans of Seth Rogen movies know what to expect from this movie.I will say this though, it’s a little more mature than a lot of his “stoner comedies” of year’s past.This is the best work I’ve seen from Seth in his career, low bar yes, but maybe he’s growing even just a little bit.Which leads me to my main take away from this movie. If you only listen to one thing in this week’s show.Memorize this.Commit it to memory. Charlize Theron can do…ANYTHING!She won an Oscar fifteen years ago transforming for the role of a serial killer, she’s an action movie icon as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road, star of her own spy franchise Atomic Blonde, a real life mom of two, she is gut-bustingly funny in Longshot.I can’t recall ever seeing Theron in a comedy before, but she nails it as she always does and has not aged a single day in her 25 year career.Not one day!
All comedies need a great supporting cast, Longshot is no different.Everyone gets to be funny in this.Charlize, Seth, June Diane Raphael as Charlotte’s press secretary, Bob Odenkirk as the President, O’Shea Jackson Jr is Seth’s best friend, a great Boyz II Men cameo, and Andy Serkis who is more known for his CGI work has a great turn as a Roger Ailes-esque media tycoon.And for those thinking this movie just preaches politics for two hours.It hits both sides equally by movie’s end.But is not even close to being a “political” movie.It’s able to turn that off for long stretches of this film.
Longshot is the best romantic comedy I’ve seen in years.It will appeal to men and women alike.If you’re looking for something to see that doesn’t have anyone wearing a cape or trying to save the Earth, this is a nice place to start looking.It isn’t the funniest movie of the year.It isn’t perfect.It maybe gets a little too raunchy towards the end.I was shocked it took that long though to be honest.It is, however, very sweet, a very mature look at adult relationships, a story led by a female that deals with feminine issues without preaching about it.I was pleasantly surprised leaving the theater this week.
On a scale of "See It/Stream It/Skip It" – Stream It - If you go to the movies regularly, I will say Longshot is worth your time.If you’re just a casual movie goer, you could definitely wait and try to catch this one at home.
If you liked Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Wedding Crashers you might like Longshot.But this isn’t as raunchy as those other three, it has its moments, but not as sustained as those others.
3 out of 5 stars for Longshot