LONG SHOT

Cert 15 124 mins Stars 4

Charlize Theron and Seth Rogan try to defy the romantic odds in this funny and slick modern spin on the screwball comedy, set in the whirlwind world of a political campaign.

The South African actress plays US Secretary of State, Charlotte Field whose globetrotting groundwork for a presidential bid is threatened when she falls for Rogan’s newly appointed speech writer, and she is forced to choose between her ambition and her feelings. 

Charlotte was once Fred’s babysitter, and while he reminds her of her lost youthful integrity, her sense of responsibility slowly rubs off on him.

One time Oscar winner, Theron, demonstrates a deft comic touch alongside her emotional range in a glamorous role, in contrast to her shaven headed warrior in 2015’s Mad Max; Fury Road.

Rogen has to run to keep up with her, and from 2007’s Knocked Up to 2018’s Blockers, he’s well practised at playing a petulant man-child who slowly realises his faults.

Moments of gross out comedy and drug taking are mixed with some political satire and a great running gag about TV stars failing to transition to glorious Hollywood careers, which is especially pointed as there’s a game cameo by former Friends star, Lisa Kudrow.

Alongside many nicely judged pop culture references and a 1990’s soundtrack, Kudrow’s presence adds nostalgic appeal for a middle-aged audience. 

More seriously it attacks the hypocritical prudishness of US media to sex lives of politicians, touches on the limitations of the dating game for women of a certain age and status, and flags up the higher expectations and double standards placed upon them in the public eye.

However director Jonathan Levine treats these issues as additional extras and keeps the pace brisk and the tone comic even as the wheels of romance fall off the passion wagon in time-honoured movie tradition.

This is a movie well worth voting for with your wallet.

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