In past SXSW festivals, Seth Rogen has had audiences at Austin’s Paramount Theater in hysterics, debuting work-in-progress cuts of his salacious cartoon Sausage Party, then the wild comedy-biopic The Disaster Artist. This year, he’s done it again with the world premiere of Long Shot, a romantic comedy spiked with political parody.
3 out of 5 stars.
Jonathan - Levine - Rogen - Long - Shot
Directed by Jonathan Levine, who’s previously worked with Rogen in 2011’s 50/50, Long Shot stars Rogen as Fred Flarsky, an idealistic journalist who’s got skin in the game and party drugs in his windbreaker. He’s a fiery liberal, writing articles for a Brooklyn newspaper like “Why The Two-Party System Can Suck A Dick.” But none of this is why he catches the eye of one of the most powerful bachelorettes in the world.
Charlize Theron stars as Secretary of State Charlotte Field, who publicly projects a flawless elegance and charm. Privately, she is running herself ragged keeping up this image of perfection, doing phone interviews during her morning workout, taking micro-naps with her wide eyes open, and practicing salutations to her boss, a president with an outsized ego, whose greatest pride is his success as a TV star. Sound familiar? Long Shot boldly studs a standard rom-com narrative (schlubby dude proves himself to his dream girl) with playful parodies of figures like Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch, and Canadian Prime Minister/Internet Boyfriend Justin Trudeau. The script by Liz Hannah and Dan Sterling is essentially Knocked Up meets The Interview. It’s Rogen’s wheelhouse, and he’s dependably hilarious whether exploding into a bombastic yet awkward speech, getting up to stoner shenanigans, or prat-falling down a flight of stairs. What’s pleasantly surprising is how well he’s matched by Theron.
Comedy - Seth - MacFarlane - Spoof - Million
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