A romantic comedy lives and dies on the chemistry of its leads. Long Shot is no different. Charlize Theron is completely convincing as she falls for the unlikely Seth Rogan. To be frank, Theron is talented enough to make us believe she is falling for a potato in a windbreaker. She is that good. It is impressive how she can shift from Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road to an exhausted mother in Tully to the Secretary of State running for Presidential office here.
Fred Flarsky (Rogan) is a convicted journalist writing for an alternative news site when it is purchased by a big media conglomerate. As the film opens, he is infiltrating a neo-Nazi group and is so willing to get his story that he agrees to get a swastika tattoo. That conviction causes him to quit his job, not wanting to work for the man. While at a party with a friend trying to make him feel better, he sees his old babysitter Charolette Field (Theron) who is now the Secretary of State. She is in need of a speechwriter and takes a gamble of Fred.
Director Jonathan Levine weaves in social commentary throughout the film. For a raunchy rom-com, Long Shot manages to tackle racism, sexism, and the absurdity of politics. While this certainly isn't what audiences will remember from the film, it is refreshing to see a film so tuned into the now. The side story about how much Charlotte has to alter herself because she is a woman brings in a heavily made-up Andy Serkis as a conservative media mogul and Bob Odenkirk as the current president who wants to focus on becoming a movie star. All of this adds color to the film but the real joy comes from Rogan and Theron. They are both so likable that you can't help but root for them throughout the whole running time.
The film does run too long. That is minor quibble though. Long Shot is driven by a desire to inspire viewers to care about others and the world. In its final moments, it seems to undermine some of this with a pat ending. That doesn't take away from the immense charm of the film. Here is a fresh take on the Pretty Woman formula that flips the gender politics while bringing a lot of humor and charm to the table. Theron is the film's true weapon as she sells every moment here. Rogan has added nuance to his stoner man-child persona. Long Shot is a solid date film that audiences will enjoy.