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The ‘Long Shot’ Exit Survey

Talking politics, Seth Rogen’s brand of raunchiness, and the resurgence of the rom-com

Lionsgate/Ringer illustration

Though it may not seem like it, there are other movies out there aside from Avengers: Endgame. The Charlize Theron– and Seth Rogen–led Long Shot, a story about a near-perfect secretary of state who falls for her frumpy speechwriter, hit theaters on Friday. After seeing the movie, the Ringer staff sat down to discuss whether the romance was believable, whether the politics were believable, and whether Seth Rogen as a journalist hit a little too close to home.


1. What is your tweet-length review of Long Shot?

Michael Baumann: A very sweet, lighthearted, funny movie. Just a delightful place to be for two hours.

Sean Yoo: An extremely charming movie that is surprisingly realistic under its unbelievable circumstances. Who knows, maybe a Ringer writer will someday marry the POTUS?

Andrew Gruttadaro: A Seth Rogen Movie, and all that that implies: hilarious sight gags, a scene where people do drugs, a questionable but winning romance, jizz, and a tremendous amount of heart.

Kate Knibbs: He certainly is Flarsky.

Alison Herman:

2. What was the best moment of the movie?

Knibbs: Alexander Skarsgard doing the Canadian prime minister’s creepy laugh was very, very funny.

Gruttadaro: When June Diane Raphael compared Charlize Theron’s dating Seth Rogen to Princess Diana’s dating … Guy Fieri.

Baumann: I’m not sure this was the best moment, but the hardest I laughed was when Fred asks Lance whether the Cum Guy video is going to go viral, and—after an entire movie’s worth of dialogue so dense and quippy it makes Gilmore Girls look like The Thin Red Line—Lance just stares at Fred in slack-jawed silence for a couple of beats.

Yoo: Using Frank Ocean’s “Moon River” following the movie’s climax (pun genuinely not intended) was really delightful. Also hearing Lil Yachty exclaim “hell yeah” after Charlotte says that everyone jerks off had me cackling like a big idiot.

Herman: The montage of asymmetrical pairings Charlotte and Fred would be roughly on par with. An impressive show of self-awareness on the movie’s part, a charming one of gameness on Rogen’s, and an intriguing list of hypotheticals, full stop. Angela Merkel and Adam Duritz: I would like to see it.

3. What was your least favorite part of the film?

Baumann: This is a minor nitpick but it seems like Bob Odenkirk’s President Chambers was a missed opportunity.

Gruttadaro: The end—from molly-addled terrorist negotiation to the video of Flarksy masturbating that leaks—sort of descends into madness, but what are ya gonna do: It’s a rom-com.

Yoo: Both of Alexander Skarsgard’s character’s laughs. You need to workshop some more options.

Knibbs: Um, I didn’t love when 13-year-old Flarsky got a visible boner. Not super into looking at/thinking about obviously aroused children. Just my take.

Herman: This is nitpicky, but: Don’t say “the environment” when you really mean “climate change!” I guess the latter is polarizing for a bunch of terrible reasons, but Fred Flarsky would tell the writers to say what’s in their heart.

4. Was the romance in Long Shot convincing?

Baumann: I think it would’ve been slightly more convincing with an Apatovian funnyman who’s like a notch and a half more attractive—Jason Segel, maybe? But they both sell it well, and it’s clear Charlotte likes Fred because of his manic pixie dream girl–like ability to get her to live a little. And in the words of another manic pixie dream girl: Julia Roberts married Lyle Lovett.

Knibbs: Yes, absolutely. Well-dressed women fall for adult men who wear windbreakers every day, and I’m happy to see it finally represented on screen. And someone as busy as Charlotte Field would basically have to date someone in her inner work circle. Also:

Gruttadaro: It’s really not that ridiculous—the history the two characters share explains a lot, but the movie also does a very good job of laying out the reasons this perfect woman would fall for this less-than-perfect-looking man.

Herman: Everyone saying it isn’t is being both unnecessarily cruel to Seth Rogen, a perfectly charming man, and willingly ignorant of reality. “Beautiful, high-functioning straight women routinely date lame dudes” may be a hackneyed Twitter cliché, but it became one for a reason!

Yoo: No offense to Seth Rogen, but the general premise of him being the romantic partner of Charlize Theron is pretty hard to believe. Yet somehow the movie made it very convincing. As Kevin Garnett once said, “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!”

5. Where would you rank Charlize Theron’s character among the 2020 Democratic primary candidates?

Baumann: Can’t answer without knowing more of her policy portfolio. Obviously she’s very pretty, and seems like a good hang, and is into college student drugs, but if that were enough I’d already have voted for Beto O’Rourke.

Yoo: Out of the several hundred democratic candidates running for president, it’s safe to say that Charlize Theron ranks as no. 1.

Knibbs: Below Warren, above Biden.

Gruttadaro: Her Game of Thrones references are already better than any current politician’s, and she hasn’t even seen the show!

Herman: The principles of Elizabeth Warren with the youth appeal of Beto O’Rourke. She’d get a Time cover or three before settling for climate czar.

6. Who was the most valuable secondary player in Long Shot?

Baumann: I’m not sure June Diane Raphael did anything in this movie I hadn’t seen her do before, but also Maggie is the exact character you hire June Diane Raphael to play, because she’s great.

Gruttadaro: Boyz II Men; but also Andy Serkis, who played Fake Rupert Murdoch with a sliminess that was literally gross to behold.

Yoo: O’Shea Jackson Jr.’s Lance was the probably the best best friend that anybody could ask for. He should be the only choice for this question; I mean, we’re talking about the guy who started the “Charlotte” chant.

Herman: For single performance, June Diane Raphael’s gloriously contemptuous chief of staff; for group effort, Kurt Braunohler, Paul Scheer, and Claudia O’Doherty’s odious Fox & Friends knockoff. A coffee mug to the face has never felt so satisfying.

7. As journalists yourselves, is Seth Rogen’s Fred Flarksy an accurate depiction of a journalist? Where would he work IRL?

Gruttadaro:

I still don’t know how to feel about it. (Also, getting swastika tattoos for a story is classic Vice.)

Baumann: I did find myself ruminating on how nice it is to see obnoxiously leftist, bearded journalists with weird tattoos portrayed in a positive light. Then I looked up and saw Fred was wearing the exact same shirt I’d worn the day before.

Knibbs: His wardrobe was painfully accurate. After hooking up with Charlotte, he’d probably go freelance since he wouldn’t need money as much—I see bylines in The Nation and The Intercept in his future, maybe a correspondent gig with Vice or an essay here and there in Current Affairs.

Herman: Holier-than-thou, oblivious to his own privilege until forcefully reminded of it, and self-absorbed enough not to notice his loaded best friend is totally a Republican? Right on the money! (Splinter, duh.)

8. What was Long Shot’s most painfully accurate portrayal of U.S. politics?

Baumann: When, after almost two hours of having a bracingly clear view of good and evil in politics, they stopped to have O’Shea Jackson Jr. give a “Not All Republicans” speech.

Gruttadaro: I’m trying to decide whether a major network would leak a video of a man ejaculating on his face in order to stop a presidential candidate who champions climate change reform and … yeah, they totally would.

Yoo: The political aspects of the movie seemed somewhat accurate. I don’t think I can actually confirm it, though, because my image of what politics is like comes mainly from Veep. But I will say, Wembley’s news station featuring Paul Scheer, Kurt Braunohler, and Claudia O’Doherty was extremely accurate.

Herman: Skarsgard’s Justin Trudeau surrogate enjoying massive popularity and sex appeal despite being an objective dweeb.

9. After a resurgence, are rom-coms back for good?

Herman: Sure, but 90 percent of ’em are gonna be on Netflix.

Knibbs: I really hope so! I like Seth Rogen in rom-coms; no matter how raunchy he gets, he always seems essentially sweet and good-hearted.

Baumann: I hope so. I’d watch four or five of these movies a week if they came out that frequently.

Yoo: As someone who unabashedly loves rom-coms, I sure hope they’re back. I’m just worried there aren’t going to be enough original ones. Everyone just copies everyone else when it comes to this genre of movies.

Gruttadaro: Long Shot made only $10 million in its first weekend, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that Avengers: Endgame is snapping all other movies out of existence. The gap between major IP franchises and every other movie is getting wider and wider—rom-coms aren’t the only victim. Which is to say: Yes, they’re back. At least until studios realize there’s no point in trying to compete with Disney.