Going the Distance

Drew Going Long


03 September 2010| No Comments on Going the Distance     by Sean Chavel


You have to be in the right time of your life to enjoy Going the Distance, a long distance rom-com with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long (a real-life couple). You also have to be willing to accept bawdy foul language. Long’s character Garrett is a New York City music biz guy in New York City, Barrymore’s character Erin is a six-week stint San Francisco newspaper intern. The rapport between lovers and buddies is sometimes over-scripted, and yet sometimes irresistible as bunny love.

Flick is bound to get prevailing negative reviews by critics who already decided they don’t like romantic comedies. This is not Alexander Payne, it is a better than usual Generation X crowd-pleaser and fairly comes off as socially relevant. And if you are a guy reading this, the Liv Tyler-like girl next door will probably like this movie. It has recognizable moments for anyone who has ever been in an impractical relationship but struggled, compromised and waited to make it work.

In all of these kinds of rom-coms, the leads get support by built-in friends and family. Garrett’s friends are played by Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day. Erin’s family support and friends are played by Christina Applegate, Jim Gaffigan, Natalie Morales and Oliver Jackson-Cohen and maybe a few others. This supporting cast gets more than the usual chances to impromptu their idiosyncratic gifts.

Variant segments of the film deal with their separation on both coasts. There are scenes involving online travel quotes, and when tickets go for the $2,000 ballpark it means that they will miss a major holiday together. Text messages come up in animated bubbles. An example of a misfire segment, however, is the awkward split-screen phone sex. Their miscommunication is supposed to be uproarious. Um, just awkward.

When Garrett and Erin do get together, lots of hand-holding, live band music, joking about sex, having sex and then the eventual argument of who will leave what job behind so they can relocate to be together. The movie also works in slob humor, how mustaches can be a sexy attribute, “Centipede” the video game, bar trivia, “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Top Gun” as favorite movies (“I like all homoerotic fighter pilot movies.”), and bong hits.

I repeat, this movie contains slob humor, dirty sex jokes and other sexual situations. The actors make all of this acceptable by having something of a balanced wit. Sometimes smart people like to slosh around, drink beer and talk about stupid stuff to counterbalance the rigidness of their everyday work-for-a-paycheck lives. Besides Applegate and Gaffigan, none of these characters are rich. It is never said aloud in the film, but economics and politics is what keeps young hard-working and sharp-thinkers down and is what keeps many unable from elevating the status of their relationship. Characters like Garrett and Erin have to deal with the frustration of being three-thousand miles apart – if this was a sane world Garrett and Erin would be able to move next door to each other tomorrow if they could without encumbering tremendous sacrifices.

102 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993); “Before Sunrise” (1995); “The Time Traveler’s Wife” (2009); “Soul Kitchen” (2009, Germany).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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