Long Shot (15) | Close-Up Film Review


Dir. Jonathan Levine, US, 2019, 125 mins

Cast:  Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen. O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alexander Skarsgård, June Diane Raphael

Review by Carol Allen

This is an original and very entertaining odd couple romantic comedy in the vein ofKnocked Up (2007) with perhaps a distant echo of the presidential romance The American President (1995).

The president or rather president in waiting is the beautiful, poised, elegant and intelligent Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron).  The current incumbent, President Chambers (Bob Odenkirk), is a former television actor, who is standing down as he now wants to make it big in movies, drawing on his presidential fame.  And he’s nominated Secretary of State Charlotte as his favoured candidate.

The romance comes in the unlikely form of klutzy journalist Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogan) a dedicated fighter for justice and right, who always goes too far in putting forward his opinions, which has effectively just lost him his job – and he doesn’t seem to own any clothes, which aren’t frankly horrible.  Turns out they knew each other in another life, in that when Fred was 13, Charlotte was his already politically idealistic 16 year old babysitter – and he was smitten.

As Charlotte is now not only even more unbelievably beautiful and elegant than she was as a teenager and president elect to boot, you would think that is where that would end.   But when they accidentally meet again, Charlotte remembers him and, amused by his humour and approach, appoints him as her speech writer, much to the horror of her advisors.  And from that situation an unlikely romance develops between the princess and, if Rogan will excuse my saying so, the frog.

The film is great fun with plenty of good gags from the very opening, when we meet Fred attempting to infiltrate a right wing extremist group with an inept Nazi salute and the beginning of a swastika tattoo – until the group realise he’s Jewish.  Bad news!

It has a wittily polished script, actors who time their lines to perfection and a bit of political satire to boot.  Theron is so perfectly beautiful she even outshines a photograph of Princess Diana at one point but she also shows us the strain of being a woman at the top.  She and Rogan bring a lot of charm and fun to their roles and totally convince us of the unlikely chemistry between the odd couple.

There are also good supporting performances from O’Shea Jackson Jr.as Fred’s best friend Lance, who has a surprise or two in store and June Diane Raphael as Charlotte’s Chief of Staff Maggie, who would far rather her boss romanced with the very eligible Canadian president (shades of Justin Trudeau and played here by Alexander Skarsgård) as being a better PR move – though his unfortunate laugh and manner of eating an oyster is enough to put any girl off.

All in all, this is a thoroughly enjoyable night out at the pictures.