Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 400-Word Review: Long Shot

Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen star in a political romcom.

Photo by Philippe Bossé / Lionsgate

There’s a sweet spot that many romantic comedies try to hit, and it lies right in the middle of those two words.

If you get a couple of reasonably funny people together and make a movie about them falling in love, you don’t want to make it a pure romance; you’ll have wasted their comic abilities. You can’t create a straight-up comedy, either — that would undercut the impact of the love story. The ideal romantic comedy must be a step away from both extremes, neither the most hilarious movie of the year nor a maudlin, saccharine weeper.

It’s a needle that “Long Shot,” a romcom from seasoned comedy director Jonathan Levine, threads pretty well. The romance is delightful; the laughs are hearty, if not overly frequent. You’d have to be a dedicated curmudgeon to dislike it.

Idealistic journalist Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) had a big crush on his dreamy babysitter as a kid. Unfortunately, time has put her even more out of his league: Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) is now the Secretary of State, with designs on the presidency. When Fred’s jetsetting buddy (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) drags him to a fancy gala, the two reconnect.

Much to the chagrin of her exasperated staff, Field is impressed with Flarsky’s writing (and his earnest faith in her agenda) and hires him as a speechwriter. The ensuing romcom beats are reminiscent of others in recent years: He pushes her to relax and reminds her of her principles, she gets him to understand maturity and adulthood. There are cliches in there, sure, but effectively employed ones — and, smartly, the scene where the two finally hook up is the film’s funniest. (All the best romcoms know that sex is hilarious.)

Levine’s most recent efforts have been more broad comedies (Amy Schumer in “Snatched,” the enjoyable “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”), so it’s good to see him playing in a different key here. (Especially considering his prior efforts at more blended genres, the dramedy “50/50” and the horror romcom “Warm Bodies,” were less successful.)

The true delight of “Long Shot,” however, is discovering that Rogen and Theron make for an endlessly charming on-screen duo. It shouldn’t be too surprising; Theron can do anything, after all, so why shouldn’t she be the most convincing of Rogen’s many romantic foils? Shelve your skepticism at another beauty-and-the-geek tale: These two will sell you on themselves.

My Rating: 8/10

"Long Shot" opens in wide release on Friday, May 3.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

First-Of-Its-Kind Flower Truck Blooms in Pittsburgh

Customers are able to pick their own bouquet from the collection of fresh stems aboard Victoria Miess's mobile, mint green mini-truck.

All the County Fairs Happening This Summer in Western PA

Mark your calendars. There are 35 county fairs in western Pennsylvania this summer.

2019 Pittsburgh Area Fireworks: Where & When to Watch Them

This booming list of fireworks displays can help you get your fill of patriotism during the long holiday week.

What to Do with an Old Bank? Redecorate with Part of a Plane

The former PNC Bank in West View is now a community resource center with some very unique features.

The 400-Word Review: The Last Black Man in San Francisco

This arresting debut feature about displacement by the Bay is one of the year's best films.

Songs of Steel for a Summer in Pittsburgh

Love PGH Music Month has formed just in time for a summer filled with great shows.

You Could Be in a Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman Film

Want to be in a movie alongside some top celebrities? This is your chance!

Food, Beer and Games at the Crafty Jackalope

The popular Bridgeville bar serves its neighborhood well.

Can't Miss Concerts in Pittsburgh in July

This month's lineup includes Belle and Sebastian, Kurt Vile and actor-turned-rockstar Billy Bob Thornton and his band The Boxmasters.

Recommended Pittsburgh Eating: 3 Recent Dishes I Loved

PM dining critic Hal B. Klein is eating seasonal salads, sushi and sandwiches.

Transit May Improve Thanks to New Technology

Public transit users may luck out if Port Authority’s wristband ticketing service experiment goes well.

The 400-Word Review: Toy Story 4

Pixar's signature series comes up with an enjoyable fourth chapter. Just don't set your expectations too high.

The Latest Restaurant Openings In Pittsburgh

We say hello to three new Galley Group concepts, plus Con Alma, Over Eden and Inner Groove Brewing.

The Business of Building Cookie Table Bridges

After her cookie table bridges proved to be a hit at her own wedding, a Pittsburgh bride has taken her idea to the next level.

All You Need to Know About Fireworks in Pennsylvania

With new state fireworks laws in place, Pennsylvanians will get a little more freedom to celebrate this Fourth of July.