Arts & Leisure

“Long Shot,” alas, misses the target

CHARLIZE THERON and Seth Rogen star in “Long Shot.”

By Jim Tortolano

Compared to “Long Shot,” the bawdy new rom-com starring Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron, stories like “Game of Thrones” and “The Avengers: End Game” are documentaries.

Rogen once again plays an unattractive but smart shmoe who wins the panting adoration – and, uh, more – of a drop-dead beauty who in real life would not even slow down while she ran him over with her Lexus.

This movie, like many of Rogen’s films, requires as much suspension of disbelief as Harry Potter movies, but it does have some redeeming qualities that are closely balanced by its flaws.

Here’s the premise. Fred Flarsky is a dumpy but smart journalist who likes tormenting the comfortable and who speaks a strange tongue in which every fourth word begins with an F and ends with a K, in some form or another.

When a big evil media conglomerate buys the scrappy alternative weekly he works for, Flarsky is out of work. Through a combination of insane good luck and a bit of nostalgia, he lands a job as a speechwriter for Secretary of State Christine Field (Theron).

It’s not long before Flarsky’s cheeky honesty starts to entrance the SecState, who is weary of men with more polish than personality. When she decides to run for president, what follows is more predictable than The Hulk smashing something.

There are spots of true wit here and there, and a surprising dialogue between Flarsky’s best friend Lance (O’ Shea Jackson) about the importance of seeing both sides in politics and faith.  The audience gets a lot of smiles and some laughs, but  most of the insight in this would-be political satire is fogged over by near-adolescent bathroom humor, non-stop profanity and here-it-comes pratfalls.

This could have been a good film taking a sharp-elbowed look at a lot of myths of our society and the body politic. But the restraint that would have taken it there is too often beyond Rogen.  Hoping for a streak of subtlety is always a long shot with his movies, and we busted out again.

“Long Shot” is rated R for lots of bad language, drug use and sexuality.

 

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