SXSW 2019: Long Shot

Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) and Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) in LONG SHOT. Photo Credit: Hector Alvarez.

Premiering at the famed Paramount Theatre at SXSW, Long Shot is the most hysterical political romantic comedy in years.

Brooklyn Advocate journalist Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) is the type of muckraker known for making trouble.  He’s a dedicated journalist who will do whatever it takes to get the story even if it means jumping out of a window.  This is a journalist who is very outspoken in his beliefs especially when it comes to media conglomerates.  When Parker Wembley’s (Andy Serkis) Wembley Media purchases the paper, Flarsky quits his job.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) learns that President Chambers (Bob Odenkirk) is not seeking reelection.  An endorsement from him would open up her path to the presidency.  Chambers, a Golden Globe-winning actor for his role as a president, is seeking to transition to film.  This is easier said than done of course–what with George Clooney and Woody Harrelson being among the few to pull it off.

Much to his surprise, Flarsky reunites with his childhood crush and babysitter at a Boys II Men concert of all places.  Charlotte is there because of the attractive Canadian Prime Minister (Alexander Skarsgård) while Flarsky’s friend, (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) brings him to get things off of his mind.  There’s something about Fred that leads Charlotte to hire him as a speechwriter.  This goes against the advice of her team, Maggie (June Diane Raphael) and Tom (Ravi Patel).

While Charlotte tours the world in hopes of getting countries to sign onto her environmental plan, the two of them start hanging out frequently.  One thing leads to another and the next thing we know, the Secretary of State is solving a crisis situation under the most surprising circumstances.

It’s really no surprise that this film serves as commentary on the current American political and media culture.  Wembley Media is a Fox News stand-in.  The satire is on point, including a morning show that features both Paul Scheer and Claudia O’Doherty.  President Chambers essentially answers to Wembley.  Odenkirk is perfect for the role while Serkis is unrecognizable.  I love what they’re going for with Chambers being an award-winning TV star-turned-politician.

By the end of the world premiere, my stomach hurt and my voice was hoarse from laughing so much.  This is how you know a comedy is working.  Even though they hit all the rom-com beats, grounding the film in politics made the genre feel fresh.  There hasn’t been a political rom-com like this since The American President.  When it comes to this laugh riot, Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen are a match made in heaven.  I love what I saw from Seth Rogen in the film.  It’s freaking hysterical to see him play a character in this situation.  We haven’t really had the opportunity to see Theron in a number of comedies but she outright crushes the role.  We’re used to seeing her kick ass in films like Atomic Blonde but  I hope this leads to more comedy opportunities because she crushes it here.

The jokes here are so frequent that it’s insane. While the two hour running time may feel a bit long, there was never a slow or dull moment in the film.  There is not a great time to get up and run to the bathroom either.

Blending romantic comedy, politics, and the fish-out-of-water genre, and politics, Long Shot is a laugh riot and the political romantic comedy for a new generation.  I hope you have as much fun as I did.

DIRECTOR:  Jonathan Levine
SCREENWRITERS:  Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah
CAST:  Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Andy Serkis, June Diane Raphael, with Bob Odenkirk, and Alexander Skarsgård

Long Shot holds its world premiere during the 2019 SXSW Film Festival in the Headliners program. Lionsgate will release the film on May 3, 2019. Grade: 5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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