Long Shot is the triple-entendre title of the new comedy featuring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogan. In short, some of the parts are greater than the whole, with laugh-out-loud material throughout. The movie itself is somewhat unpredictable and yet still I felt underwhelmed. Perhaps that is because the would-be protagonist is so unlikable? I’ll have to think about that one.
The title of the film has two immediate and obvious possibilities. Rogan stars as a bigoted ideologue / idealistic journalist, who quits his job when a Rupert Murdock-esque character buys the newspaper where he is a star investigative reporter. Following his sacking, he runs into Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Theron), who grew up next door to Rogan and babysat him through his pubescent years. She’s clearly out of his league, so that’s the first long shot. The Secretary learns that the incumbent President (Bob Odenkirk) is not planning to run for reelection, setting her off on a world tour brokering an environmental deal that will launch her own presidential campaign. And a woman angling for a presidential bid provides the second long shot. This sets up nicely as a boy-girl buddy roadtrip platform for the Rogan-Theron romance to blossom (or not).
The movie has more than its fair share of political humor and it is less skewed than you might expect. Rogan is an off-the-shelf knee-jerk liberal who comes to realize that maybe the world is not as black-hat, white-hat as he thinks it is. Of course, as Secretary of State the Theron character is used to realpolitik, and it is the clash of their two worlds that the movie will eventually resolve. It is more nuanced than an SNL sketch, but doesn’t take itself anywhere near as seriously as Vice. Comedy is hard. And we recommend this movie for the laughs alone.
Subject to caveats, of course. The movie earns its R rating with more than its fair share of blue humor, including a third possibility for the film’s title that further pushes the boundaries for Hollywood comedy reasonableness. If sex and drugs jokes aren’t your thing, you should sit this one out. Otherwise, give it a shot. Theron is great. Rogan isn’t too bad. And there is enough other stuff along the way that will keep you laughing and keep this off TNT.