Theron and Rogen both amaze you in ways you least expect
Who said Julia Roberts as a hooker and Richard Gere as a playboy in “Pretty Woman” would be a failed relationship? And who said Audrey Hepburn as a cockney English woman wouldn’t become a proper lady in “My Fair Lady?” To answer both questions, nobody did, because these roles were versatile. After all, nobody can be “practically perfect in every way.”
And bare in mind, King Kong and the girl didn’t have to kiss in their romantic tragedy.
Now, “Long Shot” assumes that Kate Middleton and Danny DeVito would have a hideous offspring, mainly because Charlize Theron as a political candidate and Seth Rogen as a goofy journalist are the movie’s main love targets. They’re people from two different worlds, and yet, they like one another, and we like them.
Remember that opening scene in “This is the End,” when a cameraman asked Rogen when he was going to do some serious acting? He did some serious acting in “Take This Waltz,” “50/50,” and “Steve Jobs,” so far. He’s funny with the right material, and he’s able to resonate with political and pop culture. Just as long as he doesn’t overdo his schtick, like he did in “Neighbors 2” or “The Night Before.”
And even Theron can have a sense of humor of her own, like in “Tully” or her voice role in “Kubo and the Two Strings.”
These two produce themselves as environmentalists. Journalist Fred Flarsky (Rogen) quits his job after his newspaper gets bought out by a media conglomerate mogul (Andy Serkis disguised by make-up); and Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Theron) is endorsed by the US President (Bob Odenkirk) to run for the 2020 campaign, and her mission is to save the planet. How do they know each other? She used to babysit him in their youth.
On tour, she hires him as her speech writer, based on his material, and they hit it off nicely. That’s when her assistant (June Diane Raphael) worries about her image, and that’s why she suggests that she marries the Canadian Prime Minister (Alexander Skarsgard).
“The Long Shot” isn’t the laugh riot you’d be expecting, but there are a lot of comical moments. Forget the generic slapstick from Rogen and see the honesty inside, thanks to his chemistry with Theron. And even O’Shea Jackson, Jr. is fun in the ways he keeps Rogen in check.
I did get a little tired of the negativity about this reversed “Pretty Woman” love story, but most of it is really sweet. It balances that premise, and adds its fight to save the environment. None of these elements consume one another.
It might be predictable and formulaic at times, but you don’t get much R-rated comedies this nice these days. Appreciate it, and appreciate Theron and Rogen for being themselves.