Finding true love is hard enough for regular folks like us. But imagine how difficult it would be to build a quality relationship if the whole world watched your every move?
That’s the sad dilemma facing Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron). She’s the US Secretary of State. The president (Bob Odenkirk) assured her that she will receive his endorsement to succeed him in the highest office in the land, meaning the world’s cameras are fixed on her constantly. With constant travel to boot, Charlotte has been unable to find a lasting relationship and she’s likely to face the presidency’s stresses alone.
But one night she runs into a familiar face at a major fundraising gala, that of Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen). Fred had a crush on Charlotte back when she was his babysitter, and their friendship ended in a way that was highly embarrassing for him. But now, years later, he makes an impression on her when he has a dramatic confrontation at the party with a Rupert Murdoch-style media baron he believes is destroying journalism and, by extension, America.
Charlotte hires Fred to be her new speechwriter when her team tells her that her one weak spot in polls is her sense of humor. As they travel the globe on a 20-country tour to line up support behind Charlotte’s ambitious environmental agenda, the unlikely pair get to know one another in a way that she hasn’t been able to in years, and she falls for him.
But with the world judging her every move, what will they think of her taking up with a nerdy, neurotic Jewish guy with a propensity for profane rants in print and in real life?
Can they find a way to make it all work out?
It might seem that this would be a fairly classic dilemma in the guise of a fresh setting. If that was the case, it would already be a bonus in these ever-predictable movie times. But “Long Shot” has one surprise after another in its sharp script, which include a dangerous terrorist attack and a wild night where Fred introduces Charlotte to the drug Ecstasy only to find her high as a kite when a major crisis erupts.
Better yet, “Long Shot” deals with real ethical dilemmas that are intriguing and relatable, as it asks of both Fred’s journalist and Charlotte’s world leader what they’re willing to compromise. Each character has to pick the red lines they won’t cross as both find themselves questioning the standards society offers.
Both Rogen and Theron give fantastic performances in the film. Theron is funnier than she’s ever been before and shows a real feminine warmth and allure that she is often lacking in her frequent killer roles in movies like “Mad Max: Glory Road” and “Atomic Blonde.” Rogen, meanwhile, steps up to the challenge of being a romantic leading man while keeping his scruffy charm intact.
One big scene-stealer is O’Shea Jackson, Jr. , the son of Ice Cube, who made his film acting debut playing his famous rapper father in “Straight Outta Compton.” He’s also displayed an impressive comic grace in indie films like “Ingrid Goes West.” As Fred’s best friend, he’s a source of joyfully comic encouragement in his friend’s improbable romantic travails, but in a particularly impressive scene he makes a strong stand for being a Christian and black Republican even as Fred mocks him for it.
The point made in that scene is that Americans need to stop making assumptions about each other and really dialogue with each other if we want to maintain a stable nation and strong relationships. As such, this seemingly simple film actually has a lot to say about life and the world we live in today, and is a sure bet for a great date night and to wind up on my 10 favorites list at the end of the year. n