At the Movies: Romance and Snappy Seniors
Opening on May 3 is “Long Shot,” a romantic comedy/drama starring SETH ROGEN, 36, and Charlize Theron. Rogen plays Fred Flarsky, a brash reporter for a liberal alt-weekly. The job he loves disappears when a conservative media baron buys his paper. Shortly thereafter, he runs into Charlotte (Theron), his old babysitter, who is now the Secretary of State. Fred charms her with his self-deprecating humor and his memories of her youthful idealism. As she prepares to make a surprise presidential run, she hires Fred to punch up her speeches. They have chemistry and begin a romantic affair. That affair threatens to torpedo her campaign because Fred has a lot of foibles in his past.
Advance reviews are quite good. Rogen has become a better actor over the years and Theron is very adept in seemingly every film genre. A romantic comedy lives or dies on whether we like the main characters and whether their romance seems plausible. Most critics say that Rogen and Theron make us like their characters and believe in their characters’ romance.
“Long Shot” was directed by JONATHAN LEVINE, 42, who also helmed “50/50” (2011). “50/50” was a quite good movie in which Rogen gave his best dramatic performance to date. The “Long Shot” screenplay was co-written by DAN STERLING, 50ish, who has written for many smart TV comedy series. By the way, Flarsky is revealed to be a Jewish character early in the film. A friend who accurately monitors such things says that “Flarsky” is the first explicitly Jewish lead character in a major 2019 film since the start of this year.
“POMS” is a feel-good movie comedy about a woman (Diane Keaton) who moves into a retirement community and starts a cheerleading squad with her fellow residents. RHEA PERLMAN, 71, plays one of the squad members. I hope this flick is not too “old folks cute.” (Opens May 3)
New Netflix Offerings and an Update
ED ASNER, 89, has a supporting role in the “Dead to Me,” a 10-episode series that begins streaming May 3. Christina Applegate plays Jen, a sardonic widow set on solving her husband’s recent hit-and-run murder. She bonds with Judy (Linda Cardenalli), an upbeat person she meets at a support group. Judy holds-back on telling Jen something that would rock Jen’s already shaky world.
Also starting on May 3 is “The Last Summer,” an original Netflix film. The plot is familiar: High school grads wrestle with love and friendship during their final summer together before heading off to college. HALSTON SAGE, 25, has a large role as Erin, one of the grads.
Sage co-starred as Alara Kitan in the first two seasons of “The Orville,” a Fox sci-fi series. Sage’s character’s recent departure from the show was so written that she can easily come back. It appears that Sage left “The Oroville” to free herself up for other projects.
Early in April, I wrote about the Netflix series “No Good Nick” which began streaming on April 15. I said it was about a teen girl who “infiltrates” a nice family with the hidden bad intentions. I said that Sean Astin, who plays the family’s nice father, discovered as an adult that his biological father is Jewish. I also noted that KALAMA EPSTEIN, 19, who plays Sean’s son, has a Jewish father and identifies as Jewish. Well, I just learned that LAUREN LINDSEY DONZIS, 14, who plays Astin’s other child, is Jewish. Both her "real life" parents are Jewish. Her previous credits include a recurring role on the Disney series “Liv and Maddie.”
Over on HBO
The HBO series “The Shop: Uninterrupted” was created by and is hosted by NBA star LeBron James, an African-American, and African-American businessman Maverick Carter. It began as a web series and was picked-up by HBO in 2018. The premise is that a number of celebrities (mostly African-American) gather at a barbershop and have a wide-ranging unscripted conversation. Race and career issues have been major topics in past episodes. The second HBO episode premieres on May 4 (10PM). Seth Rogen is one of the barber shop guests. The other six guests include NFL star DeAndre Hopkins, songwriter/singer Pharrell Williams, and actor Don Cheadle.
The documentary “At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal” premieres on HBO on May 3 at 8PM. At the center of the scandal was Dr. Larry Nassar, who sexually molested hundreds of young gymnasts. Olympic star ALY RAISMAN, 24, will be featured in the documentary.