Film and TV

Reviews For The Easily Distracted:
Long Shot

Title: Long Shot

Describe This Movie In One Weird Science Quote:

DINO: Tell me something: what's a beautiful broad like you doing with a malaka like this? Huh?
LISA: It's purely sexual.
DINO: ... No shit.
GARY: She's into malakas, Dino!
Brief Plot Synopsis: Wheezy beardo fans old flame.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: 3.5 Larry Blackmon codpieces out of 5.

Tagline: "Unlikely but not impossible."

Better Tagline: "Is she really going out with him?"

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Fred Flarksy (Seth Rogen) was, until recently, a Brooklyn-based journalist. After his paper is purchased by a right-wing media conglomerate, he quits in disgust and joins his best friend Lance (O'Shea Jackson, Jr.) for a night out.Their evening ends at a party attended by Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), the Secretary of State, who also used to be Fred's babysitter. Charlotte's planning a Presidential run following the planned (yet secret) resignation of the President (Bob Odenkirk) and unexpectedly hires Fred as a speechwriter. As the two get reacquainted, they discover they may actually have *gulp* feelings for each other.

"Critical" Analysis: Scrolling through Seth Rogen's filmography, it's easy to assume he selects his romantic comedies based solely on the attractiveness of his co-stars. His latest, Long Shot, is advertised as "from the people who brought you Neighbors and Knocked Up;" movies where Seth Rogen was paired with — respectively — Rose Byrne and Katherine Heigl. Throw in Zack and Miri Make A Porno (where he co-starred with Elizabeth Banks) and Rogen is basically the patron saint of schlubby dudes who make it with hot women.

And good for him. For too long, Hollywood has unfairly punished ordinary-looking actors who ask nothing more than to appear alongside their stunning leading ladies sporting five o'clock shadow and clad in sweatpants. Consider the unfair plight of average joes like Rogen, Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Will Ferrell, Jonah Hill, Mark Addy, Jim Belushi, and ... sorry, what were we talking about again?

Long Shot still gives pretty good with the laughs, and it works to the extent it does because of the talents of Theron and supporting players like June Diane Raphael (as Charlotte's chief of staff) and Odenkirk. With past films like Mad Max: Fury Road, Atomic Blonde, and Young Adult, Theron has long sinced proven she's game for just about anything, and her give-and-take with Rogen shows she's eminently capable of showing him up on his own turf and not above humiliating herself for a laugh.

To a point. This is the face of Dior we're talking about, after all.

And for a good chunk of the second act, their budding relationship never feels forced. Fred and Charlotte fall into an easy, organic rapport that eventually becomes intimate (courtesy of a near-death experience, of course). It's when the inevitable rom-comflicts arises (will Charlotte compromise her principles to become President? Will Fred's muckraking past come back to haunt him?) that things slip back into cliche, leading to an ending that's not wholly satisfying, yet still not a complete disaster.

One problem is that Rogen and company want to have it both ways. They're eager to indict the threat to journalism from right wing conglomerates (personified here by "Wembley Media," helmed by an almost unrecognizable Andy Serkis), yet Fred's big epiphany comes when he discovers best friend Lance (O'Shea Jackson, Jr.) is a Republican, who teaches him the joys of both-siderism. Or something.

While it's genuinely funny, and honestly better than it has any right to be, Long Shot is unfortunately (and perhaps inevitably) mostly about Fred's journey (the movie was originally titled Flarsky), and leaves resolution of the big relationship ultimatum up to him. Charlotte may be the most powerful woman in the free world, but it's still the man who makes the romantic decisions.
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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar