Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron have surprisingly strong chemistry in this sharp romcom about an outspoken writer who is hired by his schoolboy crush to work on her Presidential campaign team.
Rogen is undeniably on safe ground here, after all he can play “affable slacker” in his sleep, but Fred Flarsky feels like a far more nuanced character than his typical roles. He is riddled with insecurities and frustrations but more crucially he’s resolutely ethical; a trait which becomes increasingly important as the film progresses.
Theron meanwhile is excellent as Secretary of State and rising political star, Charlotte Field. Theron has shown her comic chops before, but here they shine stronger than ever as she brilliantly bounces off both Rogen and June Diane Raphael’s acerbic staffer, Maggie.
It’s the dynamic between the two leads which really makes the movie tick. The will the/won’t they plot is nothing new of course, but as the various roadblocks are thrown in their way, the importance placed on the values and ambitions of both individuals is an admirable focus.
Not every scene rings true and the odd diversion into silliness does jar a little tonally, but these moments are few and far between, With plenty of astute commentary on institutional sexism and public perception, it’s a warm, intelligent and touching romcom.