Long Shot Parent Guide
A romantic comedy with sexual content that goes too far on the icky scale, which is unfortunate because the movie could have had something to say.
Parent Movie Review
Charlotte Field (portrayed with Grace Kelly’s cool elegance by Charlize Theron) is one of the most powerful women in the world. A popular and capable Secretary of State, she is planning a run for the presidency, with the endorsement of the sitting President (Bob Odenkirk). With polling numbers in the 90s, nothing can stop her. And then she runs into Fred at a party.
Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) is a crusading journalist, now unemployed since his newspaper has been purchased by a vast right-wing media conglomerate (a thinly disguised Fox News). Having been brought to the party to cheer him up after the loss of his job, Fred sees Charlotte and flashes back to a sexually awkward memory of being aroused when he was 13 years old and she was babysitting him. But those memories aren’t uncomfortable for Charlotte and when the two reconnect, she offers him a job as a speechwriter because he “gets her”.
And “get her” he certainly does, although it takes a while before Fred manages to bed his tween crush. And here the movie hits two snags: first, it is almost impossible for any viewer to believe that Charlotte - intelligent, successful, and stunningly beautiful - is going to fall for Fred, who ticks all the boxes for a stereotypical man-child millennial. And second, the sexual content in this film is not only frequent, it is also off-putting. There are intimate scenes where Charlotte requests sexual activities that can’t be described on a family website. And there is a particularly unpleasant episode where Fred masturbates and ejaculates onto his beard. Although it is played for laughs, there was no laughter in the screening I attended. Sexual language also dominates the dialogue: I counted 115 uses of the sexual expletive (and another 50 scatological curses and a smattering of other profanities). The Restricted rating for this movie is well deserved because there are other issues on top of the sexual content: Long Shot further disappoints by using alcohol and drugs for comedic purposes. The worst of these involves Charlotte asking Fred to help her get a “Molly” (MDMA or ecstasy). The two go out clubbing and get high. But reality intrudes when Charlotte, still wasted, is called in to negotiate the release of an American airman who has been taken hostage. This is treated as a comic element instead of as a failure to fulfill the office she has the honor to hold.
Along with the appalling content issues in this film, there are a few small bright spots. Long Shot is at its funniest and most incisive when it deals with the gender-based challenges women face in politics - and it would be a better movie if more of the comedy were based here than on the male sexual fantasy of the schmuck getting the hot girl. The last five minutes of the film are also laugh out loud funny and are easily the best part of the production – quite possibly because this is where the movie flips from being a male fantasy into a female fantasy. And the story is strongest when it examines the couple’s relationship in the context of maintaining their individual integrity while accepting the constraints of her life in the public eye. But, sadly, the writers stuck to the tried and true formula of cheap sexual humor instead of betting on the long shot – a romantic comedy that touches the mind and heart; not just the hormones.Directed by Jonathan Levine. Starring Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, and June Diane Raphael. Running time: 125 minutes. Theatrical release May 3, 2019. Updated May 3, 2019
Watch the trailer for Long Shot
Rating & Content Info
Why is Long Shot rated R? Long Shot is rated R by the MPAA for strong sexual content, language throughout and some drug use
Violence: Fleeing a threatening situation, a main character jumps out of a third story window, lands on a car, and walks away unharmed. A man rants about the need for white power and other white nationalists act in a threatening manner. A man gets a tattoo because he is afraid he will be harmed if he refuses. A man gets angry and throws his computer in the snow. Main characters are staying in a hotel which gets shot at. Secret Service agents are injured by falling debris.
Sexual Content: A main character comments on the size of his genitals. A teenage boy kisses his babysitter. A teen boy’s erection is clearly visible through his sweat pants. Characters discuss their favorite sexual positions. A man jokes about sexual activity with Fidel Castro and makes a coded comment about his genitalia. Main characters kiss one another. A man and woman kiss while lying on a bed. They remove their pants and have sex while wearing their shirts: filming is all from the waist up. They have a sexual conversation while having intercourse. A main character requests sexual activities which cannot be described on a family website. A woman puts her hand on her breast and tells a man to “do it now”. A media personality refers to a politician as “Booby McBoobson”. A main character drinks alcohol and unzips his fly, then masturbates and ejaculates onto his beard. A male politician tries to persuade a female politician to come to his hotel room.
Profanity: There are 115 uses of a sexual expletive, almost 50 scatological curse words, approximately 10 anatomical terms, six terms of deity, at least three ethnic slurs, and assorted crude expressions and moderate profanities.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Minor characters drink shots. A main character drinks tequila out of a plastic bag in his fridge. When asked to empty his pockets for a security check, a main character removes several kinds of drugs – marijuana, cocaine, and unidentified pills. Characters frequently consume moderate amounts of alcohol in social situations. A main character asks her boyfriend to get drugs (Ecstasy) for her. They take several pills and get high. They also drink shots while stoned. The woman negotiates a hostage situation while high and appears on TV hungover.
Page last updated May 3, 2019
Long Shot Parents' Guide
Charlotte is blackmailed with sex videos hacked from Fred’s computer webcam. What do you think of the choice she made?
Do you think the public’s response to Fred and Charlotte is realistic? How do you think the 24/7 cable news media and social media would react to a real-life couple like them?
Fred discovers to his horror that his best friend is a Republican. And a Christian. When was the last time you had an open-minded discussion with someone who had different political or religious beliefs from yours? What did you learn from them?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World¸ written by Jennifer Palmieri, examines the expectations of female political leaders.
For an insider look at a political campaign, check out Connie Schultz’s …And His Lovely Wife: A Memoir from the Woman Beside the Man. Married at midlife to Sherrod Brown, Connie gave up her newspaper column to join her husband’s senate campaign.
Another story from the center of power, this time with a conservative perspective, is The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty by Susan Page. Wife to one president and mother to another, Barbara had a ringside seat on Washington.
Related home video titles:
If you’re looking for political rom-coms that are less sexually explicit than Long Shot, you can watch The American President, which stars Michael Douglas as a widowed Commander-In-Chief who falls for a lobbyist played by Annette Bening.
Dave stars Kevin Kline as a well-meaning but politically clueless man who happens to look exactly like the President of the United States. Co-opted by presidential advisers, he agrees to impersonate POTUS, incapacitated by a stroke. All goes well until he falls in love with the First Lady, played by Sigourney Weaver.
For comedies focused on election campaigns, you can check out the late, great Robin Williams in Man of the Year. Here Williams plays a talk show host who gives in to his fans’ requests to run for President. More drama than comedy, The Candidate, stars Robert Redford as a man leading in the polls, who starts to reconsider his positions as opinion polls start to swing. The classic film about an idealistic politician is Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, starring the legendary Jimmy Stewart.