Director Jonathan Levine’s mighty, even valiant, but still probably doomed struggle to make a rom-com for the post-Tinder era. So while it’s still a given that people will bang before they feel close enough for something so intimate as a date and a slow dance, there’s sort of a reason for it. See, she’s the Secretary of State and he’s her speechwriter as she prepares to announce a run for President, and they’re in the Philippines during a bit of civil unrest, and well, near-death experiences do tend to foment frantic fornication. And the requisite complications are sort of believable, too: he’s a crusading idealist wary of sellouts, she’s a politician who can’t help but make compromises on her path to power. (Or can she?) But the things that come closest to making it all work are the leads: Seth Rogen’s righteous wiseass bluster gets blunted by both love-interest Charlize Theron and best friend O’Shea Jackson, Jr. (this is a good thing), and absolutely nothing dims Theron’s star power (this is an even better thing). The political satire is a mess — think sledgehammer to watermelon rather than rapier to windbag — and the crassness winds up taking things from “keeping it real” to “yeah, that’s just a grossout dream of how things ought to be.” It may not work as a movie, but as a love story, it’s got great appeal. (2019) — Matthew Lickona
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