The new rom-com “Long Shot” is more than just a mismatched couple romp.
The film, starring Oscar winner Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, stuffs so many progressive talking points into the script it could have been ghostwritten by Rachel Maddow. Theron stars as a rising political star who hires Rogen’s character as her speechwriter.
Sparks fly unexpectedly, complicating the lives of everyone involved.
Need examples of the film’s progressive spirit?
- Theron’s character pitches a massive climate change plan
- A far-right media mogul is depicted as both cruel and dumb
- Theron’s character endures sexist treatment
- Fox News gets pummeled … repeatedly
- Rogen’s character barks, “f*** Republicans”
And that’s … fine. A film can blaze whatever ideological path it chooses. Only there’s something alarming about “Long Shot.”
The team behind the movie is out pretending it’s fair and balanced.
Here’s Rogen pitching the film in some rather disengenuous ways.
“I mean, I don’t know if it will be the thing that like brings our country back together, but I think it is something that everyone can enjoy and can laugh at,” Rogen said on Tuesday at the movie’s New York premiere. “I think, yeah, although there is a political backdrop I truly don’t think it is alienating to anyone and I think everyone can just enjoy it.”
Republicans don’t like be cursed at, right?
To be fair, the film includes one scene where a supporting character “comes out” as a Republican, and it’s meant to be unifying. It’s hardly indicative of the film’s hard-left tone.
So why would Rogen mislead us about his own movie? It’s simple.
He’s no dummy. He understands “Long Shot” stands a better chance at the box office if it’s framed as an apolitical rom-com. And it’s hardly the first time this has happened.
Remember “Miss Sloane”? The 2016 flop starred Jessica Chastain as a hard-charging lobbyist who takes on pro-gun interests. The film is an unabashed attack on the NRA, and yet the film’s key talent suggested the film didn’t choose sides.
Here’s “Miss Sloane” director John Madden:
“It was never our intention that the film be a polemic on this issue,” Madden says of the movie’s gun control theme. “It’s the context of the story, but it’s not the subject of the story. We had no intention of coming in and pointing a long finger at the situation and saying, ‘Why can’t you guys get this right?’”
The better question is, “why can’t stars be honest about their product?”
Matt Damon promoted “Promised Land,” commonly dubbed an anti-fracking feature, by saying the film didn’t take a firm stand against the practice. The 2012 feature flopped, too.
Stars have every right to make movies reflecting their ideological views. Audiences, in turn, can embrace or reject them. The bait and switch marketing push, though, does consumers a disservice.