Monday, May 6, 2019

Long Shot

"Romantic comedy" is how Manohla Dargis categorizes Long Shot in The Times. But if you’ve perhaps forgotten what romantic comedy is (in this world where Hollywood movies increasingly look like high tech video games), Jonathan Levine’s Long Shot is unlikely to help you remember. It’s romantic and comic, but will unlikely bring back any the great classics from The Philadelphia Story to Annie Hall. Long Shot  refers to what everyone thought was going to happen in 2016 where the first lady would have been a first mister had the election turned out differently. It also refers to the ejaculate that will become the MacGuffin later on in the movie. Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), a secretary of state with presidential ambitions falls for Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen), an idealistic journalist who she babysat for a teenager and who has just been fired from his muckraking job at the Brooklyn Advocate, an alternative newspaper. The movie gets off to a slow start until Charlotte gives vent to her kinky desires. Seeing hesitation in her lover, she apologizes for being bossy saying, “we’ll do exactly what you like then you slap me on the ass and choke me a little bit.”  The verbal hijinks characteristic of true romantic comedy take on a decidedly sexual and for the most part crude form in Long Shot (and the scene in question deserves some degree of scrutiny since the would-be president is choreographing her own classically submissive behavior). In their first coupling Charlotte says, “I usually can last longer than that.” “Not me,” is Fred’s rejoinder. The movie hits its stride as interchanges about sex become the lingua franca with Fred playing a kind of stage mother scripting Charlotte’s rebellion against the establishment. “Could you not tell anybody about this,” Fred asks one of the secret service agents who catches them in flagrante. “They wouldn’t believe me anyway,” is the response. In a world of appearances and ratings, is an ambitious politician willing to bet on her public image? The answer may lie in yet one more innuendo that derives from the film’s title.

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