As Ben Stone in Knocked Up (2007), Seth Rogen played the schlubby stoner to statuesque Katherine Heigl's Alison Scott. Their unlikely hook-up led to her having a baby.
Twelve years later, a more svelte, though still schlubby Rogen is paired with Charlize Theron in Jonathan Levine's Long Shot.
His Fred Flarsky's a journalist who's just been fired when a publishing conglomerate buys the weekly paper he writes political screeds for. At a party where Boys II Men are performing, Fred runs into his old babysitter, who happens to be the gorgeous Secretary of State, Charlotte Fields. Sparks fly during their reunion and she hires him as her speechwriter.
The backstory is President Chambers (a kooky Bob Odenkirk) decides not to seek reelection and suggests Charlotte for the nomination. She sets off on a worldwide tour in hopes of securing international support for her ambitious environmental initiative. While in the Philippines, terrorists attack the hotel where Charlotte's speaking and she and Fred have to duck for cover. One thing leads to another and their unlikely relationship begins, to the consternation of Charlotte's snarky aide de camp Maggie Millikin (June Diane Raphael).
The right-wing owner of the Wembley media company that bought Fred's paper (played savagely by Andy Serkis) finds out about this and tries to extort Charlotte to abandon her environmental plan, which he opposes for greedy corporate reasons.
Charlotte to Fred: "I want to smoke a Molly with you. As your boss, I order you to get me a Molly."
While Maggie sees Fred as an impediment to Charlotte's presidential aspirations, Charlotte is torn and leaves everyone hanging until she makes her announcement speech.
Fans of Rogen, including this writer, will howl with laughter through the first half of the movie; the script by Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah is sharp and hilarious. Theron has proven she can handle any sort of role, from action adventure to rom-com; she's perfect as Charlotte in every possible way.
For stoners, there are two funny scenes, one when Fred has to passs through a security gate at the White House where he lays out pocketsful of cannabis, Ecstasy and accessories; the other when Charlotte decides to party with Fred. "I want to smoke a Molly with you," she naively says. "As your boss, I order you to get me a Molly." Under the influence, she manages to deal with a Mideast crisis.
Levine, who teamed up with Rogen and Joseph Gordon Leavitt on The Night Before (2015) and 50/50 (2011) and also helmed Snatched (2017) and The Wackness (2008), has come of age as a director. In addition, O'Shea Jackson Jr. plays Fred's enthusiastic BF, Lance.
It's a fantasy that a guy could fall in love with his female babysitter 20 or more years later. But Long Shot (it's grossed $25.7 million since opening on May 3) works because Rogen and Theron have surprising chemistry. Maybe there'll even be a "Long Shot 2."