When US Secretary of State Charlotte Field was a 16-year old teenager, she baby-sat a nerdy 13-year boy, Fred Flarsky, who is now a daring radical journalist. When the two met at one function, Charlotte invited Fred to be her speechwriter as she sought to become the first woman President of the United States. The relationship between the gorgeous, graceful Charlotte and the uncouth, unkempt Fred take a turn towards romance, much to the chagrin of her campaign staff.
Charlize Theron, of course, is statuesque and svelte, certainly one of the world's most beautiful women. Smart and confident, she pulled off her presidential candidate role of Charlotte very credibly. Seth Rogan was his typical dorky loser character, but this time his Fred was a tough nut to crack, unwilling to compromise on his principles, even for his friends. This incorrigible attitude of his coupled with his sharp profane tongue tended to make him a very annoying guy.
Improbable as it may sound, there was actually chemistry between Theron and Rogan even if their characters looked and behaved miles apart and their love scenes can make some viewers cringe. I don't buy it that this starkly odd mismatch of a relationship could stay afloat in real life, but hey this is Hollywood, so happy endings are always possible. The writers though make sure enough roadblocks, some pretty far-fetched, are thrown their way to make things more challenging for them.
O'Shea Jackson as Fred's best friend Lance, and June Diane Raphael as Charlotte's campaign manager Maggie, both did their supporting roles well. There were amusing cameos from Randall Park (as Fred's boss), Lisa Kudrow (as Charlotte's poll taker) and a longer one by Alexander Skaarsgard (as the dashing Canadian prime minister). Bob Odenkirk played US President Chambers, a former TV actor who was portrayed as an incompetent chief executive. As a departure from his CGI characters, Andy Serkis played a human character here, portraying the unscrupulous businessman, Mr. Wembley.
This film followed a time-tested formula for romantic comedy of going for someone beyond your league, but this time, it was the beautiful girl who had to face a tough fight for the man she loved. The romantic angle of the plot was made more unpredictable by the implications of Charlotte's decisions and actions on her lofty political ambitions.
The raunchy factor, especially with that scandal video, was over the top. Also I don't know why a drugged-out moment was always in films like this, I'm not a fan of that kind of humor. Filipino viewers will be struck by the choice of Manila as the place where Charlotte and Fred begin their romance.
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."