Long Shot: Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron star in political rom-com

by James Robins / 16 May, 2019
RelatedArticlesModule - Long Shot movie review

A romcom about a US presidential wannabe shows why reality is hard to beat.

Long Shot is a mediocre American romcom that perfectly demonstrates the gulf-like distinction between a joke and a gag.

A joke demands a bit of wit, a set-up, a narrative, a pay-off. In other words, effort and attention. And by my count, this film has all of two jokes. What it also has in tedious profusion is gags, especially of the puerile flavour that Seth Rogen (The Interview, Sausage Party) has made his trademark: drugs, dicks and defenestration.

Rogen plays a baseball-cap-wearing schmuck journalist named Fred Flarsky, hired to be a speechwriter for competent and glamorous Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), who is considering a run at the presidency in 2020.

Theron does well with thin material. Whether she’s negotiating at a diplomatic summit or giving her best come-to-bed eyes to a man with whom it’s never advisable to go to bed, it’s convincing at the very least.

But still, there’s that terminal paucity of jokes. Leaping out a window or tumbling down stairs hasn’t been worthy of a laugh since Laurel and Hardy thumped each other with lumber. And the film’s comic imagination ceases to exist north of Rogen’s navel.

Even the satire is stillborn. The President (Bob Odenkirk) is white, not orange, but likes nothing more than to watch himself on television. A Roger Ailes media figure in the form of a heavily made-up Andy Serkis occasionally blusters his way on to the screen. There’s some fleeting stuff about a female candidate needing to be unattainably perfect to be considered “legitimate”, but this is just a miserable fact, and not very funny.

Long Shot proves the rule: satire is impossible when reality is already absurd enough.

IN CINEMAS NOW

★★

Video: STUDIOCANAL New Zealand

This article was first published in the May 18, 2019 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond on the need for nationhood
105738 2019-05-18 00:00:00Z History

Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond on the need fo…

by Andrew Anthony

Jared Diamond’s new book about empowering national identity to respond to crises is bound to tip off yet another controversy, but...

Read more
Jared Diamond: Finland shows how nations can survive adversity and thrive
105744 2019-05-18 00:00:00Z History

Jared Diamond: Finland shows how nations can survi…

by Jared Diamond

Today, Finland is one of the world’s richest countries, but it’s had to fight for it, as this edited extract from historian Jared Diamond’s new...

Read more
Musician Warren Maxwell returns to his roots to connect Wairarapa Māori
105544 2019-05-18 00:00:00Z Music

Musician Warren Maxwell returns to his roots to co…

by Sarah Catherall

Trinity Roots frontman Warren Maxwell is laying down history, recording 25 waiata composed and sung by Wairarapa Māori.

Read more
George Clooney is the driving force behind a new adaptation of Catch-22
105911 2019-05-18 00:00:00Z Television

George Clooney is the driving force behind a new a…

by Fiona Rae

World War II-era Catch-22 swings from drama to comedy as John Yossarian slowly loses his mind.

Read more
How to listen to your body's cues for the optimal time to eat
105454 2019-05-18 00:00:00Z Nutrition

How to listen to your body's cues for the optimal…

by Jennifer Bowden

Your body tells you when it wants food, so you just need to listen.

Read more
Why Te Papa's latest shake-up is raising alarm among experts
105796 2019-05-17 00:00:00Z Social issues

Why Te Papa's latest shake-up is raising alarm amo…

by Sally Blundell

Te Papa’s new nature zone is just one of the big shake-ups at the national museum. Another involves restructuring that some experts warn will...

Read more
MMA fighter Shane Young is on a mission to fight bullying and toxic masculinity
105994 2019-05-17 00:00:00Z Social issues

MMA fighter Shane Young is on a mission to fight b…

by Noted

Napier-born Shane Young is calling out the idea that sharing your emotions is weak.

Read more
The 'Christchurch Call' is just a start. Now we need to push for systemic change
106007 2019-05-17 00:00:00Z Social issues

The 'Christchurch Call' is just a start. Now we ne…

by Kevin Veale

A great deal of evidence suggests that algorithms designed in pursuit of profit are also fuelling radicalisation towards white supremacy.

Read more