I have to admit that I normally roll my eyes at romantic-comedies. I just get pretty bored with them. It’s always the same thing. Boy meets girl who is way out of his league. Boy tries to win girl but doesn’t. Girl eventually realises that boy is perfect for her. Boy gets girl. Urgh just thinking about it is making my eyes roll. I haven’t always been like this. As a youngster I loved romantic-comedies. I definitely liked Richard Curtis films ways more than they deserved. Obviously, anything starring John Cusack was more than okay with me. And I definitely spent many a sleepover watching whatever 90s/00s chick flick was all the rage. But I’ve grown up a lot since then and I find the whole thing pretty dodgy these days. Some of them break through and do something different. Most of them are just guff. I mean just look at how many romantic-comedies Netflix are churning out these days. They’re essentially the same film but with characters of different ages, ethnicities, and genders. And, if I’m honest, I thought Long Shot was going to be another forgettable piece of nonsense.
Seth Rogen is a funny man. That can’t be denied. He’s had great success at making people laugh over the years. So, I guess if anyone was going to be able to bring genuine comedy to a potentially formulaic romantic-comedy it would be him, right? Rogen stars at Fred Flarsky, an edgy, liberal journalist who finds himself out of a job after a media mogul buys the newspaper he writes for. Thankfully, he comes face-to-face with someone from his past. Charlotte Field was Fred’s babysitter and also the object of his teenage affection. Now, she’s the Secretary of State working under an unqualified president. She has dreams of being President and needs to appear more down-to-earth in her speeches. Cue Fred.
Inevitably, as Fred follows Charlotte on her political tour, the pair start to fall for each other. Obviously, their relationship isn’t all plain sailing and they have to overcome a fair few hurdles. There’s her career, her snippy right-hand woman, and the fact that she is always scrutinised by the public. Charlotte has no time for anything other than maintaining her perfect image whilst Fred doesn’t really care how people see him. She will do anything she needs to get to where she wants to be but he is a political idealist who belligerently pushes his liberal ideas. With the White House beckoning, can the pair work through their differences and get their happily ever after?
I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this film. It’s a surprisingly sweet and charming romantic comedy. And it all comes down to the two lead actors. Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron have amazing chemistry and work really well together. She is the perfect straight woman to his buffoon. And yet again Theron proves that she is a strong comedy performer. Yes, I can’t imagine the real Secretary of State would be able to conduct hostage negotiations whilst high on MDMA but the scene plays out brilliantly. The pair, though obviously so different, are cut from the same cloth so their romance works. Yes, we all know where this is going but it’s a slow enough burner that you’re invested.
And this film isn’t your average romantic comedy. There is a depth and intelligence to the story. It takes shorts at the current political climate with the ex-TV star President who keeps reminding everyone of his glory days. It discusses the relationship between politics, the media, and big business. It is also incredibly astute with its representation of a woman in this position. This is a film that has something to say and it isn’t afraid to make it obvious. But it also understands that this can’t get in the way of the comedy. So, this is a funny film. It’s stupid and silly. There’s a lot of childish humour alongside the clever stuff but it all works together. The writing is sharp, the supporting cast is all brilliant, and the main pair are unafraid to do anything they need to get the laughs in.
And this film even avoids certain cliche traps. Yes, the narrative structure is the same as every other romantic comedy but the obstacles seem real. The pair aren’t kept apart by random and unexpected plot devices. They are born from character traits. Charlotte is a workaholic who dreams of the White House. Fred stubbornly refuses to see any other point but his own. Yes, it still suffers from the same sort of downfalls that a normal rom-com would and, despite some great gags, it’s not as sharp or funny as we’re used to from Rogen. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this film. In the hands of any other two actors I’m positive that this wouldn’t have worked but Rogen and Theron just seem to make sense.