July 29, 2019  (Web Review)

Long Shot

Lionsgate, 125 min., R, DVD: $29.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $39.99, July 30

Reviewer rating: 2.0/4

Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen team up as mismatched lovers in this raunchy far-fetched rom-com. Scruffy Fred Flarsky (Rogen) is a fearless journalist who quits when unscrupulous media tycoon Parker Wembley (Andy Serkis) takes over his Brooklyn-based alt-weekly. Despondent, Fred joins his buddy Lance (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) for a pity-party that winds up at a fancy Manhattan gala. When he spies Wembley, Fred tells him off, catching the attention of glamorous U.S. Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Theron), who recognizes him as the 13-year-old neighbor she used to babysit. That’s their “meet cute” moment. Since the current Oval Office occupant (Bob Odenkirk), a vain former TV actor, now wants to be a movie star, the savvy, idealistic Charlotte is readying a run for POTUS. Because Charlotte’s consultants told her that she’s not funny enough, hiring quick-witted Fred to spice up her speeches seems like a good idea. To her, maybe, but not to her disapproving aides (June Diane Raphael, Ravi Patel), who are dismayed by Fred’s unkempt appearance and outspoken manner. Soon, gauche, lovelorn Fred is jetting around the world with elegant, refined Charlotte, promoting an ambitious global environmental agenda, disrupting diplomatic dinners, and dodging an insurrection. Along the way, they tumble into bed and get high. Working from a witty script, director Jonathan Levine milks every laugh—from an amorous skirmish with the handsome Canadian Prime Minister (Alexander Skarsgård) to fatuous Fox newscasters—in this film that serves up absurd, escapist fun. Recommended. (S. Granger)