In Hollywood, there is an assortment of so-called leading man types. On one side you have guys like Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Idris Elba and Jason Momoa and on the other side of the spectrum, you have guys like Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Will Ferrell and Jack Black. These groups represent the two distinct looks of leading men: the chiseled, brooding type and the generously proportioned comedic type.
“Long Shot” is the latest entry by Rogen in which he portrays a lovable, goofy guy who winds up in a relationship with an attractive leading lady, following such films as 2007’s “Knocked Up”, his star-making vehicle with Katherine Heigl (TV’s “Greys Anatomy”) and 2008’s “Zach and Miri Make a Porno” which he co-starred with Elizabeth Banks (“The Lego Movie 1&2”, “The Hunger Games” series).
In “Long Shot,” Rogen plays journalist Fred Flarsky who has been laid off from his job. He has a penchant for writing profanity-laced articles (one such is titled F*** You Exxon, just to give you an idea) and a passion for speaking out against injustice.
Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., Charlize Theron plays Charlotte Field, the U.S. secretary of state, who learns that the current president (Bob Odenkirk of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” and the spin-off “Better Call Saul”) does not plan to run for a second term. He endorses her run for office to become the first female President of the United States.
A study reveals how the public perceives Field’s candidacy. It boils down to this: They don’t care about the causes she supports, only if she’s got a sense of humor and if she’s dating anyone.
A downtrodden Flarsky attends a charity event and runs into Field, whom he recognizes as his babysitter when they were teenagers. After reading his articles, she offers him a job as a
speechwriter thinking that his pop-culture references will help her connect to a younger audience. This time, a love story blossoms between them.
Rogen has proven himself to be an actor capable of a range of performances, from comedy in 2008’s “Pineapple Express” to his dramatic turn in 2015’s “Steve Jobs.” In this film, he again shows that he is not afraid to go for gross-out humor and make himself look foolish all in the name of getting a laugh. Rogen proves he is capable and carries the film.
Theron has led a successful career consisting mainly of strong female roles, from her Academy Award-winning performance in 2003’s “Monster” to kicking butt in 2017’s “Atomic Blonde.” She has attempted comedy on several occasions, but the scripts she pursued haven’t really given her the chance to cut loose. More often, she takes on a deadpan role. I know she will have her chance someday.
“Long Shot” has its funny moments but the energy tends to wane. The film carries the tagline: “Unlikely but not impossible,” pertaining to the idea even those who are not beautiful can fall in love. Often, we have the Hollywood image of the “good-looking” guy walking away with the “beautiful” woman. Films like “Long Shot” challenges that cliché by showing that looks shouldn’t be the only attraction between people and inspire audiences to look deeper.