And Now For Something Completely Funky: ‘Long Shot’ Movie Review

Leave a comment

CREDIT: Philippe Bossé

I’m not sure what Long Shot‘s sense of the political landscape is. It seems to believe that the difference between Democrats and Republicans can actually be quite nebulous, which is interesting to think about, and maybe true in some cases, but certainly not in the majority of my experience. It also has some valuable things to say about the importance of compromise, although it’s kind of shouty and generic about it. But anyway, this is mostly a love story.

At first blush, it might look like the same old tale between a beautiful blonde (Charlize Theron as a presidential candidate) and a lovable schlub (Seth Rogen as a journalist-cum-speechwriter), but it downplays any eyeroll-worthy aspect of that setup by clearly illustrating the mutual attraction here. So Long Shot works best when it investigates what ambitious people are willing to sacrifice or not sacrifice, and why, in the name of the people they care about, though it would have benefited from more specific political window-dressing.

I give Long Shot My Satisfied Endorsement.

This Is a Movie Review: ‘Snatched’ is a Miscalculated Vacation in More Ways Than One

Leave a comment

This review was originally published on News Cult in May 2017.

Starring: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack

Director: Jonathan Levine

Running Time: 97 Minutes

Rating: R for Sloppy Partying and Surprisingly Deadly Slapstick

Release Date: May 12, 2017

Amy Schumer’s acting instincts dictate that she make her characters immature to the point of straining as much credulity as possible. She has no time for the trope of the professionally successful, but emotionally unstable woman. Instead, everything spirals out of control for her all at once, although that implies that things were ever in control in the first place. For Snatched’s woman-child protagonist Emily Middleton, the latter is almost certainly not the case. After losing her job and her boyfriend, she crawls back into the warm embrace back home with mom Linda (Goldie Hawn), where she can spill ice cream on her shirt and whine like a teenager. This is the Platonic ideal – or Platonic nadir, as it were – of a Schumer performance. How Emily was ever able to move out on her own is a mystery.

Linda’s troubles are much less extreme and thus more relatable. In the decades since separating from her husband, she has never gone back to dating, or even really left the house for that matter. So when her daughter insists that they travel to Ecuador together, she is unsurprisingly hesitant, partly because she is so scared to let loose, but perhaps even more so because she knows better than anyone that following Emily only leads to trouble. Even if the premise were not right in the title, it would be clear so quickly that she is the type of person who would skip right into a kidnapping scam. That Emily and Linda survive mostly unscathed makes them either improbably lucky or impossibly superhuman; both options are exhausting after an hour and a half.

While Schumer commits too hard to being pathetic, there is fun to be had among the supporting performances, where caricatures can be more functional. Wanda Sykes gets the majority of the zingers as an outgoing fellow traveler who recognizes the very real dangers of kidnapping, despite her tenuous grasp of statistics. As Sykes’ platonic life partner, Joan Cusack is weirdly perfectly cast in a completely silent role. And Christopher Meloni is the biggest highlight as an adventurer in way over his head, demonstrating that joie de vivre is often essential to making incompetence sing on screen. Schumer could take some pointers from him, though I suspect she enjoys being stuck in the muck.

Snatched is Recommended If You Like: Women behaving just as badly as men-children, Gene the Chef from Wet Hot American Summer

Grade: 2.5 out of 5 Tits Out