GOING THE DISTANCE
By Gary Murray
Drew Barrymore has been on the big screen for almost her entire life. She's gone from child star, to drug addicted teen to adult actress/director. In many ways, she is America's Sweetheart, giving audiences winning and heartfelt performances. Her latest, Going the Distance, will charm some and irritate others.
The tale of Going the Distance is of Erin (Drew Barrymore) and Garrett (Justin Long). She is a grad student reporter working as an intern for a New York newspaper. Even though it is a dying industry, she believes in what she is doing. Garrett is a record label worker for a New York label. Even though it is a dying industry, he believes in what he is doing. As the story unfolds, Erin is trying to get a full time job at the paper and Garrett is trying to get over his last break-up. They both meet in a bar and have casual sex. Neither wants it to be just a one night stand so they spend the rest of the summer stuck at the hips, giving each other every moment.
At the airport where she is departing back to the West Coast, neither wants to give up on the other, so they start the dreaded 'long distance relationship'. It is the bane of others in both of their circles. The rest of Going the Distance is of all the trips from coast to coast, with all of the complications. On the West coast is the struggle of Erin find a job in a bad job market. We also get to meet Erin's sister Corinne (Christina Applegate), her husband and the tyke. On the East Coast are Garrett's two buddies Dan (Charlie Day) and Box (Jason Sudeikis), two wild and crazy guys just looking to score with anything in a skirt. Of course, there are the local temptations that tug at the two leads. We get both 'sexting' and phone sex. The entire exercise goes to the basic romantic comedy conclusion.
The Hollywood rumor mill is saying that Drew Barrymore and Justin Long are a real life couple. No one really knows if that is true but here they are a perfect on-screen couple, playing off each other and giving each a wide berth to deliver the one-liners. Justin Long, with his hangdog, devil-may-care attitude is the poster boy for the post-college slacker, not wanting to turn the chapter on life. Drew has a character with a untold wounded side. She gives her Erin a bit of sadness that gives her a solid basis for her life choices.
Usually the secondary character of a romantic comedy are there for filler, little bits of beats just to give the two leads something to work off. Christina Applegate really finds something to work with in her character of the sister. She delivers comic reactions with such grace that she generates her fair share of laughter. Jason Suderkis from SNL fame also finds a moment here and there to steal a little bit of spotlight. There are other solid moments here and there with the other smaller characters. It was smart of writer Geoff LaTulippe to fill out these roles with solid supporting work.
The story of Going the Distance is a chick flick romantic comedy with harsh frat boy overtones. For every sweet and kind moment, there is a rough-house one. There are a flurry of F-bombs throughout the script, loads of potty humor and bits of male nudity. At times it wants to be When Harry Met Sally and at other times it wants to be Animal House. Some moments, it works as a sweet comedy, but other scenes feel just forced and too past the edge of tastefulness.
Going the Distance is very much a mixed bag of a film. I don't think the true romantic comedy fans will be able to get past the language but the guys will probably enjoy the adult hi-jinks that pepper the scenes.