Charlize Theron recently made headlines while promoting the new romantic comedy film “Long Shot.” The actress stated that she has been single for years mostly due to the fact that she expects potential partners to make the first move, something that rarely occurs. Theron explicitly stated that it’s not a “long shot” and that “somebody just needs to grow a pair and step up.” This revelation certainly made the plot of “Long Shot” that much more believable.
“Long Shot” follows the unlikely, but not impossible, love story of Fred Flarsky and Charlotte Field. Fred, an online journalist, is recently unemployed after he quits his job at a company facing a corporate acquisition. On a night out he encounters Charlotte Field, current Secretary of State. The two have history, as Charlotte used to babysit Fred, and he naturally had a childhood crush on her. After Charlotte learns of Fred’s talents as a journalist, she hires him as a speechwriter as she gears up for a presidential campaign. The two travel the world together, developing a relationship along the way, as Charlotte makes stops in various countries to propel her to a successful presidential campaign .
The film offers a comical view of the current state of the United States government and perception of politicians. Charlize Theron (“Monster,” “Atomic Blonde,” “Mad Max: Fury Road”) portrays Charlotte and delivers an impressive performance in the comedic role. Theron puts forth a convincing portrayal of a leading political figure while also humanizing the career politician as we get a glimpse into her personal life. Seth Rogen (“This Is the End,” “Superbad,” “Pineapple Express”) steps into the role of Fred, a role that viewers are accustomed to seeing from the actor. While the film is certainly toned down in comparison to other projects from Rogen, it still features the occasional raunchy moments.
The overall film is certainly a hilarious and well put together romantic-comedy, but it also features interesting exploration into elements of politics and society. The story pokes fun at the pressures a politician faces and the various aspects that make them more appealing and electable to voters. The difficulties two parties face while attempting a relationship with risk of public disapproval is also explored as Charlotte and Fred grapple with the potential repercussions of their public image. The film also enters the seedy world of politics as it touches on the sacrifices and compromises a politician must make in order to reach the next step in their career.
“Long Shot” also features a number of impressive supporting roles. Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul,” “Breaking Bad”) takes on the role of President Chambers, the television star turned president who doesn’t plan to seek re-election in order to prioritize a career as a movie star. Alexander Skarsgard (“True Blood,” “Straw Dogs”) impresses once again as the handsome and seemingly charming Prime Minister of Canada. June Diane Raphael (“Grace and Frankie,” “Unfinished Business”) portrays Maggie Millikin, one of Charlotte’s trusted staffers, elevating the comedy with her constant criticism and disapproval of Fred throughout the film. Viewers everywhere may be familiar with Andy Serkis (“War for the Planet of the Apes,” “Lord of the Rings”) for his iconic performances utilizing motion capture technology. While he does not utilize the same technology in this film, Serkis is unrecognizable under prosthetics portraying Parker Wembley, a conservative media mogul.
The clear standout among the supporting cast is O’Shea Jackson Jr. (“Straight Outta Compton,” “Ingrid Goes West”), who plays Lance, Fred’s best friend. Although he has minimal screen time, Jackson steals the scene in any opportunity he gets. I had the opportunity to sit down with Jackson and speak to him about his role in the film.
Jackson previously studied screenwriting at the University of Southern California where he learned that the screenwriter’s responsibility is to push the story along and that anything can occur in a story as long as it keeps moving forward.
“As an actor, besides your lines, if I don’t know where this story is going, how can you adlib? How can you try to add anything to a story you don’t know? So it’s just about knowing what it takes to push the story along and then you can adlib. Then you can even, you know, bring in things the writer didn’t think about. You know, that the character maybe remembered from a scene. You know, it just gives you so much more to work with. So, you know, knowing the rules that the writer has to follow, that’s what helps me in acting because it helps me stay grounded,” Jackson stated in regard to how his screenwriting knowledge contributes to his acting performances.
Jackson’s takeaway from his screenwriting knowledge certainly is on display and contributes to his impressive performance in the comedy film. His ability to go line-for-line with Rogen in their friendly banter allowed him to shine every opportunity he had.
“Long Shot” is a compelling romantic-comedy film featuring the prospect of opposites attracting and offering comedic commentary on the current political climate. Screenwriters Dan Sterling (“The Interview”) and Liz Hannah (“The Post”) give an interesting perspective on the genre. Under direction by Jonathan Levine (“50/50,” “The Night Before”), the film rarely drags despite its runtime of two hours and five minutes. “Long Shot” is worth the watch as viewers will leave the film pleasantly surprised with tons of laughs.