Look, I get it. In today’s political climate, you head to the cinema to escape from the saturation of mainstream media and spend a few hours completely oblivious to the dire state of the world. The last thing you want to buy tickets to is another Hollywood US presidency film. But trust me, Long Shot is different.
For starters, it stars Seth Rogen. And it’s not just plain old Seth Rogen – it’s Seth Rogen at his comedic best. With the perfect balance of slapstick humour, improv and cleverly crafted lines, Rogen is a joy to watch as Fred Flarsky. His nerdy, liberal journalist character is instantly relatable, with his scruffy hair and clothes so cool in the 90s they’re coming back into fashion. He opens the film as a white supremacist group infiltrator, trying to get the inside scoop for his next story. He ends up in a tattooist’s chair getting a swastika inked onto his forearm before having to escape headfirst out a third story window. And that’s just in the first three minutes.
This bumbling man is the very opposite of the poised, elegant Secretary of State Charlotte Field, impeccably portrayed by Charlize Theron. There is no real reason as to why they should meet, but meet they do (while dancing at a charity function “for the animals” no less) and the pairing is delightfully perfect. Hired as a speechwriter for the Secretary, Fred’s unwavering integrity and belief in Charlotte is almost as powerful as Charlotte herself.
Special mention must go to Alexander Skarsgård, who plays a breathy Prime Minister of Canada and Bob Odenkirk who shines as POTUS. Both characters have a whiff of someone very, very familiar and it was fascinating to see how the smallest of mannerisms instantly trigger associations with current media favourites.
Long Shot is equal parts political thriller and romantic comedy. It’s uplifting and there is a real sense that this is what the world needs – a driven woman in the White House with a scruffy Seth Rogen-esque partner beside her.
With a killer soundtrack, a few stellar plot twists and an excellent supporting cast, Long Shot is an easy and fun way to spend an hour-and-a-half.
I’m going to watch Long Shot again. I’ll probably watch it every time a certain someone’s nonsensical tweets are featured on the 6 o’clock news – a sort of cinematic salve to politically induced anxiety. I suggest you do the same.
Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen and Bob Odenkirk all appeared in different seasons of Arrested Development. Odenkirk for one episode, as Lindsay & Tobias’ marriage counsellor, in Season 1, Theron as Michael Bluth’s love interest in Season 3 and Seth Rogan as a young George Bluth in Season 4.