Long Shot: Seth Rogen Continues His Improbable Evolution

Seth Rogen has become more than we expected. Not only did he and his co-star Charlize Theron act as producers on this film, Rogen rather improbably is approaching the possibility of achieving charming leading man status. After a series of unlikely screen pairings, Rogen makes this one work. For most of Long Shot he traverses the nebbish territory almost uniquely occupied decades ago by middle period Woody Allen. Rogen‘s sense of timing has never been sharper.

The charm of Long Shot is described by the title, which title also takes on a second (and seminal) meaning later in the film.

Theron plays a Secretary of State whose ideals become tested by a TV-centric president, a boss who gained popularity via the television but wants to leave the office for bigger things…sound familiar?

Indeed the film is timely and should have a good run.

Fans of both political parties will find enough to love in the film.

The believability of Theron as Secretary of State eventually solidifies. Her unassailable beauty is a fundamental plot point. Rogen’s role as Fred Flarsky, a lefty journalist schlub, telegraphs that he is well cast, but as the story unfolds we acknowledge his seemingly improbable growth as an actor.

Bob Odenkirk is perfectly cast as the President. His oiliness we came to love in “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” work perfectly. In a Murdoch-like role, Andy Serkis plays a slimy media magnate. O’Shea Jackson Jr. is Fred’s best friend, an intriguing role.

The film is ably directed by Jonathan Levine from a script by Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah.

The script presents many improbable juxtapositions in a sufficiently believable way, and the laughs come fast and often. As Secretary of State our heroine is obligated to visit many international locations, which provide a bevy of eyecandy whistle stops.

The music supervision by Gabe Hilfer is notable. The Springsteen song is perfectly placed, and in keeping with the improbable becoming believable Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love” from the Pretty Woman soundtrack takes on a second life here.

It is a great date movie with legs potentially into the summer.


Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.