Long Shot Movie Review: This Charlize Theron Political Drama Wins With That One Song

Here's our review for Amazon Prime's Long Shot starring Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen and directed by Jonathan Levine

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Long Shot Movie Review: This Charlize Theron Political Drama Wins With That One Song

The minute I heard Roxette’s ‘It  Must Have Been Love’ as the film’s protagonists’ favourite song, I was sold. A film and its main characters with such good taste cannot go wrong.

This  enjoyable but uneven rom-com, no pushover for sure, serves up the most delectable feminist fantasy ever: a female American president! How does that grab you? Especially since she is played by the stunning Charlize Theron.

I have to  confess all my critical faculties melt down to the floor when Ms Theron is on the screen. Every time she is in a frame, I simply stare at her even though others may also have something important to do or say. But who cares? Once Ms Theron is around, everything and  everyone ceases to matter.

I really don’t know what this film’s architects hoped to achieve by casting Seth Rogen opposite Ms Theron. Seth, if you came in late, thinks of himself as a comic genius. His entire attitude smacks of an arrogant self-regard. In Long Shot, he plays Fred Flarsky, a specially obnoxious character, an overbearing investigative journalist who probably thinks the sun rises and sets in his posterior region.

I know this guy. He is the kind who, when introduced to me, would sneer at my entertainment and cinema credentials. I hate him. And  the fact that Charlize Theron can actually love him makes it worse.

Having overcome these existential obstacles, I found myself quite enjoying the film’s irreverent banter on politics and sex, and by ‘sex’ I don’t mean just the thing in the bedroom, but also that whole gender equation issue, for example the way two tv male anchors heckle their female colleague on a live show, would have you in splits, though those looking for political correctness would be pissed off.

Never mind them! Long Shot is not a rom-com devoted to the cause of propriety. In fact, some of  the film’s sexual suggestions are explicit and borderline crass.There is a viral  video of  Fred that Charlotte’s enemies find, where  he is seen  doing what 13-year olds do when their parents are not home. It is disgusting to see a  grown man  behaving like a groan man, if you know what  I mean.  But it’s also fun on a subliminal level to see two mature professional levels behave  like pubescent teenagers.

At  one point Charlotte ,the Secretary of State  and future president of America tells Fred exactly what she  wants him  to do with her  in bed. Fred’s shocked expression is ours too. The  film tells us to unwind, loosen  up and  enjoy the potshots being taken at  the  holy cows  of politics. And  it works, until the clunky writing kicks in. There is a whole chunk of political violence in Manila with Charlotte and Fred  dodging bullets that is so awfully scripted.  I wondered if the writers had gone on a flash strike. At some point after the  couple have a fight, the script doesn’t know what to do, so  it makes the couple stare at the sky.

But there is so much in the storytelling that is robust and riveting. The performances are wickedly  enjoyable. Watch out for  Andy Serkis as a sleazy media tycoon, Alaxandar Skarsgard as the dumbed-down Canadian prime minister and  O’Shea Jackson Jr as the journalist-hero’s best friend. They are  a riot.

An Indian actor Ravi Patel has quite a substantial role as  Ms Theron’s core staff member. He is cast in a colour-blind role as ‘Tom’. Fine. If we are looking at  a world freed of  cultural specificity, then why not  go the distance  to bridge gender gaps as well? Why is it so important to have a female American President?

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