LONG SHOT (15, 125 mins)

Starring: Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron, June Diane Raphael, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Ravi Patel, Alexander Skarsgard

A CHILDHOOD crush blossoms into seemingly impossible romance in director Jonathan Levine’s crowd-pleasing comedy of burning political ambitions and shameless media intrusion.

Long Shot slinks through corridors of power in Washington DC in the company of an odd couple - a glamorous political heavyweight and a slovenly journalist - whose undeniable sexual chemistry threatens to derail a bid for the White House.

Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen are impeccably cast, generating sparks with every lingering glance and zinging one-liner.

They turn up the on-screen heat from a gentle simmer to boiling point over the course of two entertaining hours, which slickly revives Roxette’s booming power ballad It Must Have Been Love as a perfect soundtrack to fluttering hearts.

The script promotes a manifesto of satirical sideswipes and heartfelt emotion, aiming barbs at Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch and Justin Trudeau in between eye-catching set-pieces including a modern update of the hair gel scene from There’s Something About Mary.

Gargantuan suspensions of disbelief are required, especially when Theron’s dishevelled stateswoman oversees a fraught hostage negotiation under the influence of ecstasy.

Considering the soap operas currently unfolding in Westminster and on Capitol Hill, perhaps Sterling and Hannah’s breathless romp isn’t so outlandish.

When he was 13, journalist Fred Flarsky (Rogen) fell hopelessly under the spell of his 16-year-old babysitter.

Decades later, the girl of his hormone-addled dreams, Charlotte Field (Theron), is Secretary of State for the United States, who has just been endorsed by President Chambers (Bob Odenkirk) as his successor.

If Charlotte wasn’t unattainable before, she is now, embroiled in a gruelling campaign.

While Charlotte juggles diplomatic hot potatoes with effortless grace, Fred quits his job rather than churn out articles for odious media mogul Parker Wembley (Andy Serkis).

Fred drowns his sorrows with best friend Lance at a party in honour of the World Wildlife Fund, where he is unexpectedly reunited with Charlotte.

She needs an idealist to add verbal firepower to her speeches and asks Fred to join her on the long and winding road to the White House.

Any dreams Fred might harbour of wooing Charlotte are snuffed out by polling data, which suggests the first female president’s perfect paramour would be Canadian Prime Minister James Steward (Alexander Skarsgard).

“The public will never accept the two of you together,” staffer Maggie coldly informs Fred, “so neither will she.”

Long Shot hits the sweet spot.

Theron and Rogen are a delightful double-act, oozing charm as they navigate the more preposterous aspects of their characters’ emotional growth.

Political correctness, gender parity and climate change are easy targets for the scriptwriters and they land punchlines with forcible precision.

Levine’s film gets my vote.