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Long Shot ***

The romance may be far-fetched, but the movie is quite funny, and Charlize Theron more than holds her own with Seth Rogen. 

Is it worth $10? Yes 

Can you believe someone who looks like Charlize Theron would fall for someone who looks like Seth Rogen? Neither do the makers of "Long Shot," for as much as the plot insists on bringing their characters together, the filmmakers never make it believable.

For Rogen’s Fred Flarsky, the draw is obvious. Theron's Charlotte Field is the U.S.A.’s secretary of state, and an aspiring presidential candidate. She also looks like Charlize Theron. Prior to announcing her candidacy, Charlotte reunites with old high school classmate Fred, a chubby, recently fired, hyper liberal journalist. Told by a focus group that she lacks humor, Charlotte hires Fred to punch up her speeches. They spend time together as she travels with assistants Maggie (June Diane Raphael) and Tom (Ravi Patel). Then Charlotte falls for Fred, which is a head scratcher. Sure, he allows her to feel human and let loose, but at this point in her career, there's no way a woman who's worked this long to be president would risk the public backlash that comes with dating someone the public would view as unworthy of her.

This is not, to be clear, solely a reflection of Fred's physical appearance. He's also uncouth, insensitive, and virtuous to a fault. He's likeable from afar, but even his best friend Lance (O'Shea Jackson) keeps him at arm's length, knowing how combustive he can be if something offends his moral code. Someone this judgmental, impulsive, and stubborn gets an aspiring presidential candidate to fall for him? It's too hard a premise to believe.

But then this is male fantasy, and if you allow yourself to go with the story, "Long Shot" has plenty of good laughs. For all his obnoxiousness, Fred is consistently funny, and Rogen's one-liners combined with his lack of shame of his rotund body guarantees a chuckle just about every time he's on screen. To her credit, Theron more than holds her own opposite Rogen. She's particularly terrific as Fred helps Charlotte loosen up and enjoy herself with pop music, and shines in a sequence in which Charlotte has to handle a hostage negotiation while on drugs. 

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On another level, writers Liz Hannah ("The Post") and Dan Sterling ("The Interview"), along with director Jonathan Levine ("50/50"), clearly drew inspiration from our current sociopolitical climate.  Charlotte is the secretary of state, the same position Hillary Clinton held prior to running for president. There’s also a Justin Trudeau’-esque Canadian prime minister (Alexander Skarsgard), and a current president of the United States (Bob Odenkirk) who was once a television star. Fear not: This isn’t a liberal Hollywood “message movie.” It’s pretty apolitical, thankfully, which keeps the story accessible for all, regardless of political affiliation. That said, a slightly deeper message than “you love who you love” would’ve allowed it to feel more worthwhile in the end. Besides, the reason you go to “Long Shot” is to laugh, and in that regard it certainly delivers.

Did you know?
Lisa Kudrow (“Friends”) has a quick cameo as the leader of the focus group.

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