Directed by Jonathon Levine
Starring: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogan, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Andy Serkis, June Diane Raphael, Bob Odenkirk
Runtime: 127 minutes
We delve into our first romantic comedy of the year. I will continue to mix up the movies seen and aside from Avengers this is the next big release. We’ve all seen a romantic comedy. Whether you’re out with your girlfriends or on a nervous date just after dinner. Nine times out of ten most of these films end up on the romantic side of things or vice versa. It’s hard to find one that mixes both genres and doesn’t come off cheesy or over-the-top. This surprising does it. I did have higher expectations than normal as it stars two actors I enjoy. Charlize Theron and Seth Rogan. I’ll be the first to admit it. Rogan can be hit or miss. Theron seems to do no wrong and her range is outstanding (hence the Academy Award) Before we start, I must say if you’ve seen Avengers: Endgame for the 4th time and need a break or maybe it was never your cup of tea. Give this one a shot. A long shot (See what I did there)
Onto the film.
We are immediately introduced to Fred Flarsky (Rogan) attending a “hate group” meeting. He’s a journalist undercover for a new article being written. Immediately the humor is there. Some films you’ll have jokes that are thrown right in your face. This film mixes slapstick with jokes that aren’t trying too hard. (think The Office) Flarsky clearly isn’t the best at what he does and you can’t help but immediately feel for the character, if only because you’re laughing at his misfortunate.
We then meet Charlotte Field (Theron) the current Secretary of State. She is the polar opposite to Flarsky. Up at 3:35 AM when we first meet her, her schedule is so packed to the point she takes “micro-naps” standing up, with her eyes open. Pretty sure my boss Tim Wolfe does the same since he’s also non-stop and more than likely up earlier than her character. After seeing a work day for Field we again, like Rogan’s character, feel for her and are immediately invested.
Field is gunning for the Presidency. The film really shines when we see President Chambers (Odenkirk) and her on screen together. He’s a former tv actor whose true love is media and wants to jump to movies. Honestly the whole film shines with the leads but the supporting cast makes it SPECIAL. As Field needs someone to help with her “humor” numbers and speeches she connects with Flarsky. She was his babysitter when he was 13 and that scene itself is hysterical.
We then are taken around the world with them and her aides and of course, love is in the air. We see countless cities which look gorgeous and get a game of 20 questions between the two. These scenes came off sweet and equally funny. A nice tongue in cheek moment with Avengers in Russian (Russian Samuel L. Jackson is the man!) and Game of Thrones were great ways for the film to show the audience they know Avengers and Game of Thrones are kings right now but we’re here too. What I started to notice during their world tour was the music. I’m obviously big on a film when they can incorporate music into scenes that add layers to it. Even Boys 2 Men make an appearance. The best scene for me used a classic song from Pretty Woman, It Must Have Been Love by Roxette. I noticed my date dancing to it like the characters on screen. Cute moment.
Throughout the film, a message is told to Flarsky and in a sense to the audience. BE BOLD. This movie shines because of that message. Being bold in life encompasses almost everything we do. With such a big message it allows the audience to connect with the characters and story. Even if we aren’t wooing the Secretary of State.
Overall, this film was a nice surprise in a genre that usually flutters. The leads (Theron and Rogan) have excellent chemistry and both can show dramatic moments and humor that perfectly balance each other out. What really makes this better than most films like it, is the supporting cast and soundtrack. It’s being billed as a 2 person show but this film is an ensemble piece. Even the villain Parker Wembley (Serkis) shines and the make-up makes him unrecognizable and was a nice touch. One complaint was several times throughout the film the cookie-cutter romance hijinks pop up. I called a conflict to happen early in the film and it turned out true. Don’t let a small hiccup deter you from this film. Go see it for the soundtrack and for the excellent cast and chemistry. 4 stars out of 5. #SHOPLOCAL
Andrew McManus is Operations Manager for Patties & Pints and its parent company Eflow Development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-981-9158.