Stars: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, June Diane Raphael, Bob Odenkirk, O’Shea Jackson Jr. Ravi Patel
This passable-ish romantic comedy is a slightly unwieldy combination of Apatow-era raunch, Capraesque fable, and 90s high concept swooners like ‘Dave’ and ‘Pretty Woman’. Rogen is scruffy left-wing journalist and activist Fred Flarksy, laid off from the crusading website he works for when it is bought up by rapacious right-wing media tycoon Parker Wembley (an unrecognizable Serkis). Fred’s high-flying businessman pal Lance (Jackson Jr.) drags him out for consolation drinks at a swanky party. There he runs into Charlotte Field (Theron), an idealistic politician about to take a run at the presidency. The two have history as Field used to be Fred’s equally unattainable babysitter. Against the wishes of her aides, Maggie and Tom (Raphael and Patel, both great), Charlotte gives Fred a job spicing up her speeches. As they travel the world a very unlikely romance ensues. The makers attempt to have their cake and eat it here, serving up another slacker wish fulfilment tale (even if Rogen’s Flarsky is frequently more boor than amiable schlub), that is also pitched as a feminist gender swap romance in which the man takes the subservient role to the woman – although this still involves Theron’s character becoming more of a bro’ to make the romance work. There are some decent gags, alongside lazy contemporary faves such as the stoned sequence, the slo-mo shot of dorky white people walking purposefully to gangster rap, and semi-ironic appearances by 90s celebrities. And the two-hour running time feels a bit of stretch.