In essence, what endears romantic comedies to their most ardent supporters also is what bothers a lot of critics. Rom-coms, on the whole, are formulaic fantasies about everyday people who behave unrealistically in exceptional (and exceptionally well-lit) situations. The films usually adhere to a simplistic three-act structure that hinges on the viewer’s emotional catharsis. The lovebirds meet and get to know each other in a montage scored to an upbeat pop song; clash, separate, and miss each other in a montage scored to a melancholy pop song; and ultimately reunite, with a coda scored to a cathartic pop song. In Long Shot, the upbeat song is Blondie’s “One Way or Another,” the melancholy song is Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love” from the Pretty Woman soundtrack, and the cathartic song is Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own,” which is odd, given that the couple ends up together. By the way, given the genre, that’s not a spoiler. Pedestrian song choices aside, Long Shot is hit-and-miss. What works about it also is what works in all the good rom-coms: fundamentally, it’s a story about two likable people putting in the time and effort to understand each other. CONTINUE READING