Comedy is subjective and, therefore, comedy movies are difficult to review. I’m sharing that up front because, truth be told, I can’t recall the last time I attempted to review a comedy. The issue lies with the simple fact that what I find funny, most others most likely do not. I have my own sense of humor, just like you have yours.
2019’s Long Shot is a prime example of this. There is plenty in this movie that I found hilarious that I know others won’t, and vice versa: plenty of people will watch this and laugh out loud at stuff I probably didn’t even chuckle at. But that is the brilliance of comedy, especially well done comedy. Smart comedy.
Long Shot is without a doubt a smart comedy, mainly because it has to be. Unless you’re making a parody, you cannot make a movie about a woman campaigning to become the first female president and have it be stupid. Yes, politics are argumentatively stupid when you strip it down, step back, and take a look at it all. But that rarely translates to film.
Thankfully, despite not actually being written by the star Seth Rogen, he and his best friend Evan Goldberg produced it. Given that they have had multiple mega-hits in their careers, it’s safe to say they know what they are doing at this point.
Long Shot is about Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), the youngest Secretary of State in America’s history. Using her clout and political expertise, along with the fact that the sitting president (Bob Odenkirk) isn’t planning on a second term, she plans to use her position to springboard herself into becoming the first female president. To do so, she needs to spice things up within her campaign. She personally hires Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen), a well known and recently unemployed journalist. They also have a history together, as she used to babysit him when they were teens. Fred reluctantly agrees to work for her and the more time they spend together the more they realize they have a connection, which could sabotage her campaign dreams.
A lot of the movie relies on what has become tired and true at this point. In terms of the “Will they/won’t they” thing, it’s been done to death in Hollywood, so the new solution is to flip the script and change it up. To me, it worked well in this movie. The reversal of roles made quite the difference. In hundreds of movies it has been the woman in pursuit of the man out of her league. In Long Shot, the man is in pursuit of the woman out of his league. It was a nice and funny change of pace from what I have seen so many times before.
I will say that the movie definitely plays to a certain audience, whether it was actually trying to or not. Rogen is 37 and Theron is 44 and a lot of the jokes and references in the movie won’t play well to anyone under the age of…28? 30, most likely. Rogen is a name that anyone 13 or older knows, but I doubt that any 13 year olds will get most of the references and jokes in this film.
Current 13 year olds don’t know who Roxette or Boyz II Men are, or why jokes/moments involving them are so funny here, along with about 39 other nostalgia references and jokes. I’m also doubting younger viewers will understand the running joke about the sitting president wanting to leave politics to get into acting, given that it is a reversal of Ronald Reagan, who used his acting career to enter politics (and ultimately become president). Lastly, a lot of people, regardless of age but most especially the younger crowd, won’t get the joke of Andy Serkis playing Parker Wembley, who is an amalgamation of every skeezy, old, rich white powerful male.
Thankfully, at 35 years of age, I reside within the age group the movie was aiming for, and understood all of the jokes and references. Which I really enjoyed because it felt almost as if the film was geared toward me!
I thought the movie was funny, smart, romantic in parts and stupid/crass in other parts. It all blended together well and, despite being just over two hours, I never felt like it dragged or needed to skip over anything in order to end faster. I know not everyone will, but like I said, that is simply because comedy is subjective and what I like and laugh at, you possibly won’t. Which is why differing opinions help make the world go round!
So when it comes to Long Shot, should you Watch it or Skip it? I vote Watch it!
Just bear in mind that it is an R rated Seth Rogen comedy, so if you know anything of him and his previous R rated comedies, you’ll know what to expect from him.
Long Shot has a run time of 125 minutes and is rated R for sexual content, language and drug use.