SXSW 2019 Review: Long Shot is a timely and irresistible romantic comedy.
When I first heard that Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron were teaming up for a comedy, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Their pairing seemed a bit unconventional, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I had my doubts whether or not they were going to be able to pull it off. However, to my complete and total surprise, not only did Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen have great chemistry, but Long Shot ended up being the biggest surprise to come out of SXSW this year.
In Long Shot, Seth Rogen plays Fred Flarsky, a passionate journalist that believes in reporting the truth and standing up for what he believes in. Charlize Theron plays Charlotte Field, the US Secretary of State with plans to run for President in 2020. Charlotte and Fred haven’t seen each other in years, but their paths cross at a local charity event. Charlotte can’t seem to remember where she has seen Fred before and ends up sending security over to him to find out. As Fred begins to chat with Charlotte, she is reminded that she used to be his babysitter when they were younger. Taken back by his charm, Charlotte continues the conversation and learns that Fred is a journalist with a wicked sense of humor. Smitten by the fond memories and Fred’s irresistible charm, Charlotte hires Fred to be her speechwriter as she begins her run for the Presidency.
I will admit that I am usually not a fan of Seth Rogen, but as Fred Flarsky, he won me over. Even though there are still quite a few of the typical Rogen jokes in Long Shot, I felt like Liz Hannah, and Dan Sterling’s script made his character Fred quite charming and lovable. Rogen’s performance is hilarious but also has substance. I loved seeing Rogen embrace this role because it felt different than anything that he has ever done before. Fred is a character that is very vocal and has no issue calling out people out on their bullshit. What is even more surprising about Fred Flarsky is how much I saw a lot of myself in this character. I never thought in a million years that I would say that about a role played by Seth Rogen, but here we are.
Charlize Theron proves once again that she can do no wrong. While Theron is no stranger to dark comedies, Long Shot marks the first time that she has starred in a slapstick romantic comedy. Theron, as expected, fully embraces her role as Charlotte. This character not only allows Theron to show off her comedic side but reminds audiences that she can play a bad-ass female lead like it’s nobody’s business. Theron has a terrific sense of comedic timing and seeing her in this role made me want to see her embrace more comedies like it.
The chemistry between Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen is fan-freaking-tastic. While the trailer doesn’t do a very good job of selling their chemistry, Theron and Rogen prove within the film’s first 30 minutes that they not only make a great odd couple but are a match made in comedy heaven. I like that their performances have layers to them as well. It would be easy just to make this about the comedy, but there are plenty of moments where the two have serious conversations that work just as well as the moments that make you laugh out loud.
Alongside Theron and Rogen is a great supporting cast that includes O’Shea Jackson Jr, June Diane Raphael, Bob Odenkirk, Alexander Skarsgård, and several others. Jonathan Levine does such a great job with this cast because he gives everyone their moment to shine. I loved seeing Skarsgard in such a silly role, and O’Shea Jackson Jr’s back and forth banter with Seth Rogen’s Fred was hilarious especially the whole bit about being a Republican.
Liz Hannah and Dan Sterling have written one of the funniest films that I have seen in quite some time. There is a delicate balance of humor that ranges from the typical sex joke to hysterical one-liners. There are a few scenes that feature some gross-out moments, but the majority of the laughs comes from a mixture of dialogue and physical comedy. I loved all the little jokes about people in Hollywood especially the one about Jennifer Aniston being a movie star. Also, because the film takes place in the world of politics, there are several jabs at the media as well as those in power. The entire movie feels timely yet never heavy-handed.
Jonathan Levine’s career began in independent cinema with The Wackness and transitioned over to studio projects. Levine has directed a wide array of films that include 50/50, Warm Bodies, and most recently, Snatched. Long Shot is the third time that Levine has worked with Seth Rogen and I feel like the two of them bring out the best in each another. Out of all his seven of his feature films, Long Shot is easily his best one to date.
Long Shot perfectly blends comedy, romance, and politics into one hell of an entertainingly good time. Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron provide big laughs and plenty of heart. I cannot remember the last time that I have been this surprised by a film. Long Shot is the first must-see comedy of 2019