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  • Robert Farago

Long Shot - Movie Review

Charlize Theron and Seth Rogan? Seriously?

Long Shot was a long shot that fell short at the box office. And yet the 2019 romcom – pairing Seth Rogen with Charlize Theron – is Netflix’s number one movie. What does that tell you?

It tells me that Netflix viewers are searching for entertainment that doesn’t require an extended time commitment or significant brain power.

You’d have to be brain dead to believe Theron’s preternaturally attractive U.S. Secretary of State

Charlotte Fields would fall for Rogan’s track suit-wearing journalist Fred Flarsky.

Love conquers all? Not by a long shot. We know what he’s doing with her, but we’re never entirely sure what she’s doing with him. Aside from being the foil for a character based entirely on Woody Allen’s early films.

For those of you who’ve never seen the canceled comedy genius’ early work, Allen plays a neurotic nebbish out-kicking his coverage in an environment filled with caricatures.

Same here. Only Allen’s character is an over-educated, self-deprecating one-liner machine. Flarsky is a dumb fuck with maybe two good lines. A man who really hates himself. (For good reason, some might say, but I couldn’t possibly comment.)

Intellectually-challenged viewers are supposed to laugh with Rogan’s hard-partying liberal crusader scoring points on snobby assholes. Smarter viewers are supposed to laugh at Rogan’s prat-falling

Something About Mary schlub.

Judging from the positive reviews, the bifurcated Bubelah double act works for a lot of people. Whatever. For me, Theron’s Fields of dreams is the bigger problem.

The South African actress plays the U.S. Secretary of State as an environmental activist wrestling with her conscience, liberated from corrupt compromise by Flarsky’s idealistic speechwriter cum lover cum “cum guy.”

Theron does her best to make Fields tough-as-nails and sweet-as-pie. She ends up being tough-as-pie and sweet-as-nails.

“Guys don’t really want to date women more powerful than them,” she asserts. “It’s a dick shriveler.”

The Secretary of State as a drop-dead beautiful, sexually-deprived victim of the patriarchy.

Is that how Hillary sees herself? To be fair, Long Shot’s opposites attract plot makes sense in a Love Boat meets Fantasy Island kinda way. Right until it doesn’t.

At the end of the movie, Flarsky’s best friend - a big-hearted mensch - reveals himself as a Republican Christian. Flarsky, the uncompromising journalist, has a major hissy fit.

Flarsky’s tantrum undermines any notion of his character’s integrity. His need to tell truth to power is supposed to be the plot’s main engine; the thing that lights Madame Secretary’s fire.

Gone in sixty seconds. Flarsky shows his true colors: a loud-mouthed knee-jerk liberal with a squid-like backbone.

In the last scene, Flarsky sits by the new President’s side for an interview. He drops this little gem:

I used to think the best way to change the world, to make it a better place, was through journalism. I’ve realized that’s not at all the case. Really the best thing I could be doing for the world is just supporting this amazing person, and just trying to learn from her, and kinda just trying to be the best First Mister I can be.

This “realization” positions Flarsky as a feminist phony, and Fields as the ball-buster she feared she was in the “turn me around, slap my ass and choke me a little bit; wait I’m your boss; I shouldn’t be bossing your around in bed” sex scene.

Despite the sudden and final death of their romantic tension, I bet someone in Tinsel Town’s talking about turning Long Shot into a streaming series.

Four more years? I’m bidin’ my time.

For what it’s worth, both of these actors are capable of making an excellent romcom. Just not with each other.

To say there’s a lack of chemistry between Rogan and Theron is like saying England has terrible weather. It’s not entirely true, but it’s true enough.

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