Film review - Long Shot
Jonathan Levine's Long Shot is too good for its own good.
Rom-Coms aren't, let's face it, supposed to work. At. All.
They are intrinsically dumb.
But like all dumb-dumb film genres (if you like it then power to you, I just find most of them to be ... just ... there), I like good ones. And this is good.
Because although the standard and cliche Rom-Com formula is carved in stone - down-on-their-look nobody (unemployed writer, Seth Rogen) falls in love with somebody (Secretary of State, Charlize Theron); snarky best friend; third-act-conflict; Neo-Nazis etc - the genre, itself, has so much wiggle-room in its playbox to be exploited, as it is here.
Some conflict does stem from the will-they-won't-they mechanic that no-one - neither human nor cat nor mashed-up potato - falls for: but much of it stems from the political themes, and I promise it isn't as boring as it sounds.
In addition to being a solid comedy (how many movies feature a baked-off-your-face terrorist negotiation?) and a compelling romance (Rogan and Theron's chemistry is enviable), Long Shot delivers the trifecta of having something to say ... whilst also being absolutely ridiculously baffling in doing so (again, Neo-Nazi opener ... enough said).
Featuring both mild commentary on gender politics - pfft, a woman could NEVER become President, amirite? - and a Phillipino revolution (yes, you read that right), alongside a somewhat-nuanced snapshot of the environment and leadership - Long Shot is surprisingly deep for a movie starring Seth Rogen, and no offence to the man, but The Interview wasn't exactly, shall we say, subtle?
The supporting cast is redundant and brimming with (somewhat subverted, but ultimately trope-y) Rom-Com tropes, including the snarky best friend (who is NOT gay for once), the disapproving other-friend, the Canadian Prime-Minister and the awkward, has-a-schedule-for-his-schedule type friend. It's Rom-Com fodder I feel this movie could supersede ... but when has being dignified ever paid the bills?
And ultimately, our dashing star-crossed lovers are what matters; as well as timely nods to the ever-cheerful Game of Thrones and currently-jovial Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The romance is romantic, the comedy comedic, the politics understated and the Rom-Com-cliche Neo-Nazis more than present: if that isn't a recipe for a Romantic-Comedy, then I don't know what is?