This weekend I saw Long Shot, the movie co-starring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen. The premise is not new - stunningly beautiful woman falls for shlubby guy - but what was unexpected, was their on-screen chemistry.
In the movie, Theron plays Charlotte Field, the U.S. Secretary of State to President Chambers, a former television actor (sound familiar?), who has decided not to seek re-election and instead to "do something more prestigious . . . movies!"
Charlotte is vying for the President's endorsement, while also trying to improve her public opinion poll numbers. To do that, her team suggests she hire a speech writer to punch up her remarks.
Enter Fred Flarsky, played by Rogen. Fred grew up with Charlotte (she used to be his babysitter) and he's now working as a liberal journalist. When his paper is purchased by a media conglomerate, he finds himself out of a job, and able to accept Charlotte's invitation to be her new speech writer.
*SPOILER ALERT! Do not read on if you do want to know anything else about the plot of this movie.*
Their relationship evolves as they travel the globe together. Fred suggests to Charlotte that it would be easier to write the speeches in her voice if he knew more about her, so he's constantly peppering her with questions - Favorite book? Favorite movie? Song you could listen to over and over again? Through the litany of questions, they really begin to develop an affection for one another.
As their mutual crush intensifies, there is one particularly adorable scene where they are at a work event, and Fred whisks Charlotte away into a room off of the banquet hall so he can ask her to dance. He puts her favorite song on his phone (Roxette's "It Must Have Been Love") and they start to slow dance like they are in the eighth grade, with both of her arms up around his neck.
As her trust in Fred grows, one night, after a particularly painful turn of events with her climate change bill, she asks Fred to do Molly with her. She puts on the most absurd outfit to blend into the club scene, and they have a wild night complete with moshing and confetti raining down onto the dance floor.
Naturally, in the middle of her blowing off steam, the U.S. finds itself in a hostage situation. Charlotte is dragged off the dance floor, and brought into a room with military officials where she's expected to negotiate the release of the hostage, while still high as a kite. It's one of the best scenes in the entire movie.
Though her relationship with Fred seemed to be blossoming, like any good rom-com, there has to be a point of tension. In this film there are two - (1) the public's reaction to Charlotte's relationship with Fred and (2) the paparazzi have been snapping photos of her alleged relationship with Canadian Prime Minister, James Steward, played by Alexander Skarsgard. To me, Skarsgard will always be Eric from True Blood, but in this role they give him a brunette wig, fake teeth, and a hideous laugh. My bestie said, "How do you make Alexander Skarsgard unattractive? I didn't think that was possible!"
Despite all of the obstacles, Charlotte and Fred find their way back to each other. In the very last scene, their kiss is set to Robyn's "Dancing on My Own," which is one of my favorite songs of all time. As the credits rolled, I didn't want to get up, because I wanted to hear the song all the way to the end.
The shockingly believable chemistry between Theron and Rogen is what keeps this movie exciting. That said, the supporting cast deserves props as well. June Diane Raphael, best known as Briana on Grace & Frankie, plays Charlotte's wrangler and is perfect in the part. Fred's best friend, Lance, is played by O'Shea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube's son!). Their scenes together deliver some of the best laughs. There's also an amazing cameo from Boyz II Men that will have you unapologetically singing along to "Motown Philly" from your seat.
When this movie eventually hits Netflix or Amazon Prime, I will be watching it again and again and again.
If you want to fall deeper down the rabbit role, listen to NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour - the episode is from May 8 and it's called "In 'Long Shot', Charlize Theron And Seth Rogen Mix Love And Politics." Also check out this interview with the film's director, Jonathan Levine, on how he chose the songs for the memorable soundtrack.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think?
*All images courtesy of Long Shot on Facebook.