Long Shot movie review: Seth Rogen charms in raunchy romantic comedy

Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) and Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) in LONG SHOT. Photo credit: Murray Close.
Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) and Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) in LONG SHOT. Photo credit: Murray Close. /

It’s not a Long Shot to suggest Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron’s new raunchy, yet heartfelt, romcom is more than worth its price of admission.

Seth Rogen has had a pretty noteworthy career trajectory over his decades on camera. From starting out in small, funny roles, to several stoner comedies, to Academy Award nominated films, he has earned his status as a household name. Long Shot is yet another layer to add to Rogen’s lustrous career – as a charming leading man who more than capable of holding his own in a romantic comedy.

Yes, one of Rogen’s first big films, Knocked Up, is also technically a romantic comedy, but Long Shot gives him a chance to play a far more likable character against a female character with more depth and equally as many comedic moments.

Long Shot stars Charlize Theron as Madame Secretary, Charlotte Fields. A woman who is vying for the presidential candidacy and intends to be the first female president. Enter Rogen’s character, Fred Flarsky, a snarky, intelligent journalist who will dive straight into the muck for a story.

We’re introduced to Flarsky as he nearly gets indoctrinated into a white supremacist group. It sets a tone for the film, needless to say.

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Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) and Charlotte Fields (Charlize Theron) in LONG SHOT. /

Charlotte and Fred grew up together when they were kids but have since lost touch. They’re reunited at a party (with an excellent musical cameo present) and the sparks begin to fly. It doesn’t take long for Charlotte to do some research on her old pal and become entranced by his wit and excellent writing skills. She asks him to join her on the campaign trail as her speech writer.

What follows is a hysterical, often heartfelt, and genuinely enjoyable romantic comedy film. Long Shot is sure to be a crowd-pleaser with its sharp jokes and emotional center.

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One thing I’ve begun to respect about Seth Rogen’s newer films is his willingness to let women take center stage and not be relegated to the typical shrew roles we often get shafted with in hard-R comedies. In Neighbors, Rose Byrne was allowed to be an idiot just like her husband was.

In Long Shot, Charlize Theron’s character is career-driven and never asked to compromise for the man she loves (or she is, but it’s the plot thrust and not her sole character arc) Fred is actually the one who falls into many of the character pratfalls women get stuck with in romantic comedies. It makes for a refreshing change of pace.

That said, I did feel as if Long Shot lost its thread when it came to the political side of the film. It’s an unavoidable theme given the subject matter, but one that falls apart in the second half of the movie in particular.

This is a film that starts with a white supremacist group, it lampoons the alt-right media and our current political state of affairs, and then loses that focus with a lazy “we’re all in this together” message in the back half. I appreciated the candor where women in politics are concerned, and the honesty of Charlotte Fields office run is appreciated, but I do feel as if Long Shot sacrificed some of its self-awareness in favor of pacifying audiences.

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Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) and Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) in LONG SHOT. Photo credit: Murray Close. /

In regards to international and foreign affairs, Long Shot gets several things wrong. And there is a pointed, strange, segment about halfway through where the movie almost changes genres before shifting back. It was one of the most jarring scenes in the movie. Luckily, this stumble doesn’t ruin the film and it recovers and gets back on track after.

Ultimately, Long Shot is indicative of the evolving romantic comedy. It treats its audience, and its characters, with respect. It’s a wonder to see the ever-elegant Charlize Theron really let her hair down and push past the brink of your expectations. We’ve seen her do comedy before but never quite like this. Her grace is the perfect contrast for Rogen’s affable awkwardness, together they make for an endearing on-screen couple with enough chemistry to make you wonder why they haven’t been paired together before now.

I worry the film may not get the box office turn out it deserves, with it headed up against Avengers: Endgame, but if you’re in the late stages of superhero fatigue, this movie will be right up your alley.

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Do you plan to go see Long Shot in theaters? What are your favorite Seth Rogen comedies? Does the trailer for the film appeal to you or do you think it’s a film you’ll skip? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Long Shot opens wide in theaters nationwide beginning May 3rd.