“I can’t shake this feeling that we know each other,” says Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron). “We do!” says Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen). “I’m Fred!” “So what are you doing these days?” Charlotte says. “I hope it’s something amazing.” “Pretty amazing,” he says, “but you’re the Secretary of State!” That’s the setup for “Long Shot,” an adult romantic comedy in which Charlotte and Fred, friends when she was 16 and he, 13, meet unexpectedly 25 years later, when he’s an unemployed free-lance journalist and she’s running for President.
Can Charlotte and Fred, with virtually nothing in common, fall in love? Or is she too sophisticated and he, too schlubby? Will you be entertained by this R-rated, adult comedy? I was.
Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen are great as the mismatched couple: she, smart, successful, stunning Secretary of State, Charlotte Field; he, clever, crusading, unkempt, and out-of-work journalist, Fred Flarsky. He needs a job. She needs someone to punch up her campaign speeches. Fred can do it. “But,” she says, “do you have some grown-up clothes to wear tonight?” June Diane Raphael plays Maggie Millikin, Charlotte’s executive assistant, who disapproves of Fred and Charlotte’s growing mutual attraction. “There’s no way the two of you work,” she says. “The public will never accept it.”
Others in the strong cast include O’Shea Jackson, Jr. as Lance, Fred’s black, wealthy, Republican best friend, and Alexander Skarsgard as Canadian Prime Minister, James Steward, who flirts with Charlotte. Andy Serkis plays right-wing media mogul, Parker Wembly, who’s the reason Fred is out of work. Lisa Kudrow, Charlotte’s campaign consultant, says of her polling data, “We don’t drill down to actual political policies because people don’t really care.” Bob Odenkirk is President Chambers, TV star who wants to be in the movies.
“Long Shot” is, as critic Brian Tallerico says, “rom-com with a political edge.” It’s also sexy, raunchy and funny. Director Jonathan Levine and writers Liz Hannah and Dan Sterling acknowledge up front that “Pretty Woman” (1990) — another great mismatched-couple rom-com — was their inspiration. Charlotte and Fred slow dance to “It Must Have Been Love,” just like Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in their rom-com, but here gender roles are reversed. As Lance explains to Fred, “It’s ‘Pretty Woman,’ but she’s Richard Gere and you’re Julia Roberts.”
Rated R for strong sexual content, pervasive language and drugs, “Long Shot” runs 125 minutes. Adults only.
A rom-com “Long Shot”;
The f-word, non-stop;
Fun, smart, adult flick;
Charlize and Seth click.