Long Shot (2019 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jonathan Levine|
|Story by||Dan Sterling|
|Box office||$37.7 million|
Long Shot is a 2019 American romantic comedy film directed by Jonathan Levine and written by Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah. The plot follows a journalist (Seth Rogen) who reunites with his former babysitter (Charlize Theron), now the United States Secretary of State. O'Shea Jackson Jr., Andy Serkis, June Diane Raphael, Bob Odenkirk, and Alexander Skarsgård also star.
The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 9, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States and Canada on May 3, 2019, by Lionsgate. It received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise for the performances and chemistry of Rogen and Theron.
In 2019, U.S. Secretary of State Charlotte Field learns from President Chambers that he does not plan on running for a second term. Seeing an opportunity, she convinces him to endorse her as a potential presidential candidate.
Meanwhile, New York City journalist Fred Flarsky learns that the newspaper he works for has been bought by Parker Wembley, a wealthy media mogul whose ethics directly oppose Fred's. Furious, he promptly quits but cannot find another job. Depressed, he turns to his more successful best friend Lance, who takes him to a charity fundraising event that Charlotte is also attending. She and Fred recognize each other, as she was his babysitter and secret love interest when they were teenagers. While they catch up, Wembley interrupts them to plan a meeting with Charlotte, leading Fred to condemn Wembley's actions and beliefs before leaving.
Upon reading some of Fred's columns, Charlotte decides to hire him to write her speeches over the protests of her manager Maggie. Despite voicing skepticism of her ethics, Fred takes the job. At a world leaders summit, Charlotte is forced to revise a speech involving a planned environmental revision to appease some of her constituents. When Fred objects and calls her out on abandoning her morals, she changes her mind and the speech is a success.
As the two continue to spend time together under the pretext of Fred learning more about Charlotte for his writing, they start to get close. Finally, after surviving a revolution in Manila, they begin a relationship together. Upon finding out, Maggie tries to warn both that the public will never accept them as a couple. When Chambers orders Charlotte to remove plans to preserve the trees, as some friends of his asked, she lets off steam with Fred by getting high on molly. A hostage crisis occurs soon after and, despite still being high, Charlotte manages to talk the captors down and free the hostage.
Even though the incident increases Charlotte's approval rating, Chambers is livid when she chooses to ignore his orders and call him out. He confronts her in his office alongside Wembley, who has a vested interest in removing the trees as part of her plan. The two blackmail her with a hacked video from Fred's webcam of him discussing their relationship and masturbating to a video of one of her speeches. She shows Fred the video and informs him that she has agreed to the ultimatum, and that she wants to introduce him and their relationship publicly once his image is cleaned up. Disappointed and unable to change, he refuses and they break up.
Back in New York, Fred talks with Lance, who tells him that he has been too stubborn with his principles and refusal to consider other people's needs and opinions. During her announcement to run for president in 2020, Charlotte changes her mind and opts for her original plan, also revealing the blackmail from Wembley and Chambers and describing the content of the video before its release. Fred searches for Charlotte and finds her waiting at his apartment. They admit that they love each other, and meet the press outside where Charlotte introduces Fred as her boyfriend. In 2021, Charlotte is sworn in as the first female president with Fred as "First Mister", him having taken her last name.
- Charlize Theron as Charlotte Field, the U.S. Secretary of State
- Aviva Mongillo as Young Charlotte
- Seth Rogen as Fred Flarsky, an unemployed journalist
- Braxton Herda as Young Fred
- O'Shea Jackson Jr. as Lance, Fred's best friend
- Andy Serkis as Parker Wembley, an international media mogul
- June Diane Raphael as Maggie Millikin, one of Field's two key staffers
- Bob Odenkirk as President Chambers, the President of the United States and a former television actor
- Alexander Skarsgård as James Steward, the Prime Minister of Canada
- Ravi Patel as Tom, one of Field's two key staffers
- Randall Park as Flarsky's boss
- Tristan D. Lalla as Agent M, Field's bodyguard
- James Saito as Minister Kishido
- Lisa Kudrow as Katherine, the head of Field's polling team
- Kurt Braunohler as Wembley News Anchor #1
- Paul Scheer as Wembley News Anchor #2
- Claudia O'Doherty as Wembley News Anchor #3
- Boyz II Men as themselves
- Lil Yachty as himself
In February 2017, the project, then titled Flarsky, was announced, with Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron attached to star and Jonathan Levine directing. That summer, Liz Hannah, whose first Hollywood job was at Theron's production company Denver and Delilah Productions, was hired to rewrite Dan Sterling's original script. In October 2017, O'Shea Jackson Jr. was cast. In November 2017, June Diane Raphael, Ravi Patel, Andy Serkis, Alexander Skarsgård, and Randall Park joined the cast as filming commenced in Montreal.
The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 9, 2019. Originally slated to be released on February 8, 2019, following highly positive test screenings it was pushed back to June 7, 2019 in order to be positioned as a summer tentpole. It was then moved up to its eventual date of May 3, 2019.
In the United States and Canada, Long Shot was released alongside The Intruder and UglyDolls, and was projected to gross $9–16 million from 3,230 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $3.6 million on its first day, including $660,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $9.7 million, finishing third. The film held well in its second weekend, grossing $6.1 million and finishing in fifth.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 81% based on 248 reviews, with an average rating of 7.09/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A sharp and deceptively layered comedy that's further fueled by the odd couple chemistry of its leads, this Long Shot largely hits its marks." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 67 out of 100, based on 44 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars and a 57% "definite recommend."
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