Ewan Gleadow

Movie Review: Long Shot

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Copyright: Lionsgate

Funny man and director Jonathan Levine teams up with man and actor Seth Rogen in Long Shot. Note the lack of prefix for Rogen, that’s what an A-Level in English Language will do to you. Not entirely taken away by his charms and comedic chops, his recent projects are trying tremendously hard to sell Rogen as leading man material. An American Pickle tried pushing him so hard they gave him two roles. Long Shot feels like his best shot. A safe political comedy tailor-made to jab at the modern politics of today and shoehorn some of his patented drug and sex-oriented comedy into the mixture.  

Undeniably strong chemistry between Rogen and Charlize Theron makes for infectious levels of laughter. Comedy pairings are often flaky or mismatched, especially those that look to throw romance into the flatlining grey mixture, but Long Shot relies on a rekindling of friendship and an effective, if cliché narrative structure. Leniency can be given, especially considering how enjoyable Long Shot is at times. Nothing incredible or groundbreaking, but more than enough consistent comedy here. Stitched together with a relatively simple narrative base, and a budget that feels far larger than it should be, there is genuine hope within Long Shot. It doesn’t shine through as often as it should, but it’s great to see it there in pockets from time to time.  

O’Shea Jackson Jr. manages to outshine the leading performers here. His role as Lance, the rock which Fred Flarsky (Rogen) relies on in the early moments, is stalwart in his abilities. Jackson leaves a strong presence in only a few scenes, as does Bob Odenkirk as President Chambers, and an unrecognisable Andy Serkis as a generic media mogul that crops up from time to time. A good collection of strong performers put together more than a handful of enjoyable moments. Somehow managing to break through the relatively tame jokes provided by the script, our cast of characters manage to throw off much of the distasteful blandness prevalent in this genre. 

Comedy films are starting to draw major names, but the uptake in actual humour is still stagnating where it was ten years ago. Long Shot has funny moments to it, but follows the Hollywood formula as closely as it can. That strict layout does work from time to time, Long Shot makes for a light watch. Not entirely devoid of quality, but two hours stretches the imagination and the jokes a little thin, especially if you’re inundated with watching this same stereotypical nonsense on a loop. Funny, sure, but it should be far more than that, and doesn’t come anywhere close to memorable. Consistent performances keep it all together, worth watching just to see Rogen and Theron attempt a presidential campaign.