Movie review: Long Shot

Long Shot— Running Time: 2:05 — Rating: R
In this season of movie mediocrity, you might try “Long Shot,” which I can recommend only by saying that it offers some good laughs. These are created by fine actors who could have made a grand comedy if the script had been better. As it is, they deliver beautifully whenever the writing is good though silence envelopes the theater all too often.
This is the story of Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) and her run for the presidency with Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) by her side. What makes this thoroughly unlikely pairing possible is that Charlotte babysat for Fred when he was nine and she was 12. Fred remembers her as an idealistic, serious young woman and when he meets her again, she is Secretary of State. She remembers him with affection.
When they meet now, Charlotte is considering a run for the presidency of the U.S. When she decides it’s a go, she asks Fred to be her speechwriter knowing well from their past that he will be trustworthy.
Charlotte surprises him with repeated invitations to practice speeches in the bedroom — all to the deep concern of her campaign manager who is played with understandable concern for her candidate by Maggie (June Diane Raphael). We have here two ambitious performances by the leading pair supported nicely by their assistant. But how do the three of them get past the weak script? They do it by infusing their roles with wacky personal takes whenever they are front and center.
Fred becomes Charlotte’s reliable, first rate speechwriter and Charlotte, shuffling the demands of the campaign with great sophistication, lets down whenever she’s with Fred and takes to inviting him to her bedroom where, with comic humor, she asks him for sex as a relaxing measure. What turns all this into good fun is their deep trust in each other that is conveyed so well by each of them. They are good people. He’s a good writer. She’s a good campaigner, but for her it’s a performance, and her off screen life with Fred is what sustains her. Their bedroom antics are fuel for her campaign performance.
Each of the two gives an outstanding performance when the lines are good, and when words fail, we can pay attention to the sights they produce for us. Fred, who has a big sense of himself as a speechwriter/thinker, wears just one set of grungy old clothes, messy hair, and is unimpressed by important people who — here anyway — are usually fake and ambitious. He has the trust of candidate Charlotte, and his deep honesty is the bone of his character.
How can it be anything but fun to watch Theron handle perfectly the role of a beautifully dressed woman of great intelligence who loves calming down by having good sex with the speechwriter she trusts? It’s not an idle comment to mention her clothes. She changes often and every outfit is both starkly simple and beautiful. The glorious candidate and the speechwriting ruffian enliven a dull script by becoming who they really are. A salute to Theron and Rogen.
— Reviewed by Joan Ellis

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