Considering the number of schlubby politicians with gorgeous wives, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a gorgeous politician would have a schlubby boyfriend.
But that’s the premise behind “Long Shot,” an amusing look at presidential politics and what is viewed as acceptable behavior.
Charlize Theron stars as the secretary of state, a rising star who, quite likely, could replace the president when he announces he’s leaving public office for a career in films. She hires an old friend (Seth Rogen) to punch up her speeches and, in no time, the two find they’ve got more in common than a well-turned phrase.
While director Jonathan Levine makes a few sly comments about Hollywood and D.C. (there’s a fun debate about actors who have made the leap from television to film) and shows how corporate donors can be big players in the legislation that gets passed.
Theron (who looks like she’s been filtered on someone’s iPhone) reins in her usual sense of humor and plays most scenes like Ivanka Trump. She’s smarter than the president (Bob Odenkirk) and much more savvy about her future than any underling might imagine. She envisions an environmental pact that could make her a world player (or at least someone who isn’t just known for dating the prime minister of Canada). She handles the turns well, until the president wants her to alter the terms and bow to the wishes of a particular benefactor.
She shares her concerns with Rogen, who has his own history with corporate greed. Quitting when he learns his newspaper has been taken over by a slimy publisher, he realizes everyone’s integrity is on the line.
While attending a Boys II Men concert, he runs into Theron’s Charlotte Field and they reminisce about the days when she was his babysitter. She needs a writer; he needs a job and the relationship begins.
As he learns more about her (and she gets someone to talk to), they bond and begin sleeping together.
Naturally, advisers tell her he’s a liability.
Levine lets this play out too long (the film should be less than two hours, not more) and has too many pop culture references for longevity’s sake.
While another pair might have been able to sell this a bit better (Rogen seems, um, too young for Theron), the two get their laughs don’t really taint the premise. A better film exists as a sequel. Levine points to what the future holds and it has big possibilities.