R, because it's a pretty raunchy comedy. There's one of those jokes that's such a gross out joke that I don't even want to write about it in words. The words themselves make me feel a bit icky. The movie is overtly sexual, but I don't actually remember seeing any nudity. There's tons of language and innuendo all throughout. Big surprise, the character played by Seth Rogen does a lot of drugs. It's a stand out raunchy rom-com. R.
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Levine
It's so funny that my sister-in-law really wanted to see this. My sister-in-law lives very clean and very wholesome things. She has probably seen more Hallmark Christmas movies than the people at Hallmark themselves. She was referenced on a podcast for her absolute devotion to Hallmark. When I saw the trailer for Long Shot, I immediately said that she would not care for this movie. I don't think that she ended up seeing it. But after I saw it, I can officially say that I was right about how raunchy the movie ended up being.
Seth Rogen might be his own worst enemy. He has made so many great raunchy comedies that he has set the bar remarkably high. There's something very difficult about getting comedy right. It seems like such a specific point point of factors that go into making a comedy work and there's probably such a small payoff that it might be impossible to tell if a comedy is going to crush. Seth Rogen has made a handful of actually game-changing comedies. He was great in Knocked Up, which has the added bonus of being a rom-com. But he's also one of the forces behind Superbad, which every raunchy movie has tried to imitate since then. I would cite Neighbors as one of those game changing things, but I think that's more on me. Just because I like that movie doesn't mean that I have the power to movie it into the comedy canon...that's too much power.
But I'm saying that the man has made some brilliant movies in his day and so when a movie is just adequate, it's a bit of a bummer for him. If Long Shot was his out-of-the-gate movie, there would be a lot to talk about. Every jokes pretty much lands. I never got bored. That's the role of a comedy. Heck, I should probably throw in that Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron somehow make a convincing couple. That was literally some of the publicity for this movie, how these two characters are going to be considered a convincing relationship when he's such a schlub and she's Charlize Theron. I know. I hate shaming people for how they look. But Rogen is one of the people behind this movie. He's producing it and he's acting in it. He knows his own reputation. I suppose the other side of that coin is that he's the one who can have romantic scenes with a Hollywood starlet, so let's put all that sympathy in perspective for the moment. But in terms of being a romantic comedy, it wins more points than it loses. Again, as I keep pointing out, I find romantic comedies often insipid. I know I doth protest too much, but that's the way I feel about a lot of them. The fact that I was never actively annoyed by this movie was great. When people put the funny first and the formula second, a lot tends to work. It's not like Long Shot isn't formulaic. It actually really, really is. But the comedy is still what is honed and perfected for the most part and that's pretty great.
But I do want to analyze the film, not just blah blah about it. (That's my new phrase. "Blah blah." It fills up space and gives me a bit of momentum to figure out what I'm going to say.) I find it interesting that Seth Rogen may be aging with his characters. If the archetype of Seth Rogen was his character in Knocked Up, a fat drug-addicted waste of space, it's interesting to see that Seth Rogen is now a fat drug-addicted productive contributing member of society who has strong political views. I hate throwing around the word "fat" because I don't like to fat-shame, but the movie really rides out the physical appearance of Rogen so I'm only semi-apologizing. Rogen has been and always probably will be a character actor. It's absurd to imagine him without some kind of drug culture behind him. He's about normalizing drug culture. Again, tea-totaller here, so I can't exactly jump on board this train. But Knocked Up was made in 2007. This is the Bush administration if I'm doing my math right. This is easily searchable and I should be doing a better job as a blogger right now, but I'm not going to get distracted or self-flaggelating. 2007 sounds like it wasn't that long ago, but it's thirteen years ago. That's actually kind of a bit of time to pass. Rogen's only a year older than I am. He's 37. That means, in 2007, he was only 24. I'm trying to think of myself at 24. Yeah, the culture was different then. The 2000s were this moment in history where you were either really political or not at all political. I know it sounds like I'm talking about 2020, but trust me for as much as you can.
Partially, there's probably this subconscious commentary on the role of the loser character. I love that we're shifting away from physical type to determine background of characters. Rogen is still playing his lovable goofball, with his fun drugs (don't do drugs!), but he's imbuing this storytelling with an element of responsibility. I'm goign to step out of myself for a second because I think it behooves me to have a sense of perspective when I go deep diving into analysis. I admit, he has to have a reason for Charlize Theron to like him. It would be absolutely bizarre for the Secretary of State to sleep with the guy from Knocked Up, but I like to think that there is more going on there. Fred is a 21st Century male in a time where the world is falling apart. I would like to remind you that I'm writing this from my basement, which is part of a house that I have not left since Friday. There is this commentary running in the background of the need to stand up to a system that does not listen. While the politics in Long Shot are sophomoric, that simplified form of government reminds us that we can't just afford to be lovable losers. Yeah, it's a rom com and we want the two leads together, but that doesn't allow Fred to back down on his beliefs. There's this great moment where we know that he's completely enamored with Charlotte. Yet, the second she starts backing down on her campaign promises, he holds her accountable. Things are more important than just the happiness of the one. I also applaud the fact that he's not totally right for the way he handled it. Sometimes, life gets super messy. I adore that the challenge is greater than simply a misunderstanding. There's this objective good in the world and the two want to fight for the this thing that others might consider hard to pull off.
Long Shot isn't a genius film. There are times that I straight up got bored with it. As a raunchy rom-com, it tells the jokes that is should. I laughed out loud a lot. I never really found myself giving a forced laughed. But I didn't ever guffaw either. Instead, it's just a good time. The worst thing is probably Flarsky's clothes, but that's part of the story, so I'll forgive it. Oh, and Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab would probably hate one of the jokes. It's the joke where someone looks like something, but the director and writer scripted all of that so it's manipulating too much. If you are a Harmontown fan, you'd probably get it.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.