It’d be understandable to be dubious about the ‘Charlize Theron falls for Seth Rogen’ premise of Long Shot. How many more elegant woman with schlubby dude romances do we need? Yet, Long Shot is so warm, jolly and perfectly cast that it overcomes any initial cynicism immediately and makes for a hugely enjoyable rom-com. Although it may strain credulity at times, it entertains from start to finish.
Theron plays Charlotte Fields, a presidential candidate about to embark on a world tour to shore up support for an environmental protection bill. She encounters Rogen’s Fred Flarsky – who she used to babysit as a teenager – by chance at a party. Fred is a radical journalist, and after Charlotte reads his work she decides to bring him in as her speechwriter.
They get close, much as you would expect, Fred’s jokes and wit improving Charlotte’s speeches while breaking down barriers between them. After surviving an explosion together, they begin a wild and exciting relationship. Busy as it is with political globe-trotting, Liz Hannah and Dan Sterling’s script doesn’t go down typical ‘relationship struggle’ roads, avoiding clichéd jealous misunderstandings by having its two leads as confident, self-possessed people who enjoy communicating with each other.
Rogen is very funny and there are a lot of laugh-out-loud lines for him and the excellent supporting cast, but it’s Theron who truly makes Long Shot work. Her superstar presence keeps the power balanced towards her – one scene in which Charlotte has to negotiate a hostage release while high on MDMA looks on paper like an easy misfire, but Theron absolutely sells it.
Long Shot’s story can feel familiar, but it’s an original setting for a rom-com and one that helps the heightened tone feel very fitting, allowing for charming romance and brilliant gags.
CAST: Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron, June Diane Raphael, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Ravi Patel, Bob Odenkirk, Andy Serkis, Alexander Skarsgard
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Levine
WRITERS: Liz Hannah, Dan Sterling
SYNOPSIS: When Fred Flarsky reunites with his first crush, one of the most influential women in the world, Charlotte Field, he charms her. As she prepares to make a run for the Presidency, Charlotte hires Fred as her speechwriter and sparks fly.