I’ve never been a fan of Seth Rogan, but I seem to like his films. His first major role in Knocked Up was as the stoner “Ben” who against all odds manages a one-night stand with the beautiful Katherine Heigl. While her career seems to have slowed, Rogan’s has somewhat surprisingly taken off with tons of voice work and a steady stream of TV and film appearances. Knocked Up is a Judd Apatow film, which, like Superbad and Bridesmaids is loaded to the rafters with vulgarity, profanity and crude humor. You know, kind of the norm anymore, and Rogan is perfectly suited for this genre. His writing for Sausage Party is straight out of this playbook.
Not to mess with success, Rogan has replicated Apatow’s formula and managed to costar on this outing with Charlize Theron in another unlikely pairing. This time he and Theron share Producer credits with about ten others and one wonders if Charlize is demonstrating yet another layer to her acting portfolio, or was just paid tons of bucks to have a little fun and fulfill Rogan’s casting fantasy.
He’s one of those actors like Zach Galifianakis, John Belushi, Chris Farley, Will Ferrell or Jonah Hill who can cause you to laugh just by walking on screen based on their track record and physical appearance. It also results in some cases (not Belushi, Ferrell or Farley) in a compensatory attempt by the actor to separate their on screen persona from that which brought them recognition. Imagine Will Ferrell slicking back his hair, wearing stylish suits and NOT being a parody of himself. Rogan and Hill are guilty of this split personality. Mountains of cash aren’t enough? But that doesn’t really matter. I just find it annoying.
The plot of Long Shot is purely ludicrous. Theron plays Secretary of State, Charlotte Field, who is positioning herself for a run at the Presidency. The current President, everyone's favorite Bob Odenkirk, has decided to leave office and pursue a career in films. Unlike Madeleine Albright or Hilary Clinton – VERY unlike either of them – she is model beautiful and has poor taste in men. Oh wait, maybe not entirely unlike…
Rogan is Fred Flarsky, a comical name in itself, a talented but snarky journalist with self-destructively high principles who quits his job rather than work for a media mogul with enormous political clout. Where have we seen that before? Other blatant political statements permeate the film. Did we know that a seemingly liberal black man can be a member of “the GOP and the GOD?” Fred’s longtime best friend Lance, played by O’Shea Jackson Jr. enlightens Fred with that stunner.
A series of unlikely events results in the two main characters reminiscing about the night young Fred kissed babysitter Charlotte and became vividly and embarrassingly aroused. Apparently this was such an endearing memory that the Secretary of State decides to hire an out of work journalist to help “punch up” her speeches, and drags him around the world at her side to the great dismay of her entourage.
Sometimes a movie works despite itself. My favorite scene in Long Shot is an unexpected running face-plant pratfall down a long flight of stairs, ending in a skidding stop at the feet of numerous dignitaries. Lots of other physical comedy helps Long Shot not take itself too seriously. And then there’s THAT scene. You know, the bodily fluid one we haven’t seen to my knowledge since There’s Something About Mary in 1998 when Rogan was just 16 years old. Perhaps it influenced his sense of humor and writing. But that was yet another film about an unlikely second chance relationship – that worked.
If you can suspend disbelief, need something that doesn’t require much thought and would like to see a movie that has almost no violence, you can do worse than seeing Long Shot. Just don’t bring the kids. Sure, it’s rated R, but I’ve seen parents bring youngsters to some truly appalling movies recently.
Long Shot runs 2 hours, 5minutes and is rated R.
Should I see this movie?