A Review of Long Shot by Ahmed Zayani
It seems the glory heydays of romantic comedies have long come to pass. While not dead by any means, I can safely say that it’s been quite a while since I was last captivated by the saccharine sub-genre. To be honest, it seems that romcoms peaked at the beginning of the 2000s, with the later year offerings struggling to be as compelling as the earlier ones, especially with the shit in audience’s tastes and expectations. It’s a shame really because if done right, romantic comedies can be some of the most entertaining options offered on the big screen. Yes, they can be cliché and cheesy as all hell, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a guilty pleasure, is there?
Directed by Jonathan Levine, Long Shot tells the story of Fred Flarsky (played by Seth Rogen), a journalist who made the conscious decision to quit his job when the newspaper he works for is absorbed by a huge media conglomerate. By sheer luck, he runs into an old flame of his; Charlotte Field (played by Charlize Theron), the current Secretary of State, with presidential aspirations. Soon enough, Flarsky is brought onboard as Charlotte’s speechwriter and in no time, a romance begins to bloom, despite their differences. If you had told me at the beginning of the year, that Seth Rogen aka Sausage Party guy, was going to be the lead in one of the best and most compelling romantic comedies in years, I would’ve laughed off your suggestion. Yet, here we are. When I first heard of this film (then called Flarsky), I was cautiously intrigued. While he has done quite a few good roles, Seth Rogen is a bit of an acquired taste, and a bit much when spread too generously. While Charlize Theron is a good actress in her own right, I cannot recall the last time she appeared in an all-out comedy bandwagon. After a screening at Cineco 20 (It is still #SaarForever), I can honestly say that Long Shot is not only one of the best romantic comedies in a long time, but also one of my favorite films in 2019, thus far. Part of the film’s strength lies with the two lead performers and their unexpected but palpable chemistry. I bought into their relationship hook, line, and sinker, and was completely invested in figuring out how it would transpire. Major kudos to the stars and the scriptwriters Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah who managed to work with the leads’ strengths and create an entertaining narrative. The film was also one of the funniest I’ve seen all year, leaving the theatre in splits throughout.
Although minor, the movie did have a couple of gripes. For one, the flow of the story was predictable, and anyone familiar with the subgenre would’ve figured out the narrative beat within the first act. The movie also hosted a few paper-thin characters who were nothing more than caricatures of their template, which was a shame and in stark contrast to the well fleshed out and nuanced lead characters.
Though all things considered, Long Shot is still one of the most entertaining films of the year, as far as I’m concerned it is a must watch.
Verdict – 8.5/10
For more cinematic intel follow Ahmed Zayani on Instagram @theahmedzayani
The Five: Favorite Romantic Odd Couples
- Let the Right One In
- Lars & the Real Girl
- The Shape of Water
- She’s Out of my League
Trailer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKsc2I4Tgsk