Part of the reason we’re seeing fewer romantic comedies from Hollywood is because everyone knows the formula to these increasingly predictable movies. The formula was even satirized in “Isn’t It Romantic?” a film released earlier this year. And while that doesn’t mean rom-coms can’t be successful in this day-and-age, “Crazy Rich Asians” is proof of that, the lack of continued success the genre saw in the 90s and early 2000s proves that the formula is getting tiresome and in need of a revamp. Much like how horror films have moved further away from gore, sex and jump scares towards terrifying imagery, atmosphere and suspense, rom-coms need something to spice things up.
This is part of the reason why “Long Shot” works as well as it does. The film is very much in-tune with what both men and women want these days and is uncompromising in its honesty, despite a world where that is becoming more difficult to find. While it does fall into many of the same trappings as other rom-coms, like the bumbling fool falling for the hard-worker who doesn’t have time for love, as well as the best friend that doesn’t approve of their relationship and a world that can’t allow these two to be together, the film is still engrained enough in the real world that you can understand why Charlize Theron and Seth Rogan would want to be together.
The film follows U.S. Secretary of State Charlotte Fields (Theron), who is making a run for President, and needs a new writer to punch up her rather dull speeches. Fields has a chance encounter with Fred Flarksy (Rogan), who recently quit his newspaper job and whom Fields babysat when they were younger, and after the two reconnect, Fields decides to hire Fred as her new writer. And as Fields makes a world tour for her newest environmental initiative, the two grow closer together, despite Field’s assistants saying this would only hurt her image if she really wants to become President.
The biggest problem with “Long Shot” is the comedy. There are no laugh out loud moments, since the film often takes itself far too seriously. The running joke of “opposites attract” only works for so long here, especially when Charlize Theron continues to give it her all in the role, and Seth Rogan is his usual stoner loud-mouthed self. Despite the two having a refreshing chemistry that doesn’t feel forced, the biggest laugh in the film comes when Seth Rogan puts on a funny outfit at a huge party.
But while the comedy often falls flat, “Long Shot” does everything it can to buck the cliches of rom-coms. Not only are the typical gender roles reversed, with Theron playing a no-nonsense politician and Rogan pursuing their relationship more than she does, but the film is open with its characters flaws. It makes “Long Shot” one of the more human and honest rom-coms, especially when they have to make difficult choices near the end when choosing between romance and their careers.
Overall, “Long Shot” is a serviceable rom-com that does its best to mess with societal expectations and clichés, but seems so obsessed with this that doesn’t deliver on the comedy. The film gets so serious by the end that you forget you’re supposed to laughing at Seth Rogan’s drug use and the possibility of dating a politician. While the film can be heartwarming and progressive, the script lacks the punch it needs to be a remarkable romantic-comedy.
Final Grade: C+