Director: Nanette Burstein
Cast: Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Charlie
Day, Jason Sudeikis, Ron Livingston, Jim Gaffigan, Kelli Garner,
Rob Riggle, Christina Applegate
RunTime: 1 hr 49 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Rating: M18 (Coarse Language and Sexual References)
Official Website: http://going-the-distance.warnerbros.com/
Opening Day: 2 September 2010
(Drew Barrymore) wry wit and unfiltered frankness charm newly
single Garrett (Justin Long) over beer, bar trivia and breakfast
the next morning. Their chemistry sparks a full-fledged summer
fling, but neither expects it to last once Erin heads home
to San Francisco and Garrett stays behind for his job in New
York City. But when six weeks of romping through the city
inadvertently become meaningful, neither is sure they want
it to end. And while Garrett’s friends, Box (Jason Sudeikis)
and Dan (Charlie Day), joke about his pre-flight calorie-cutting
and his full-time relationship with his cell phone, they don’t
like losing their best drinking buddy to yet another rocky
romance. At the same time, Erin’s high-strung, overprotective
married sister, Corrine (Christina Applegate), wants to keep
Erin from heading down an all-too-familiar road. But despite
the opposite coasts, the nay-saying friends and family, and
a few unexpected temptations, the couple just might have found
something like love, and with the help of a lot of texting,
sexting and late-night phone calls, they might actually go
Take it from one who has been there and tried that for three and a year years- long-distance relationships aren’t easy. Some may tell you otherwise, but a large part of being together is staying together. Despite nagging doubts, most couples do try- like Justin Long’s Garrett and Drew Barrymore’s Erin- though many will inevitably run out of mileage after some time. Does that mean Garrett and Erin don’t get to enjoy that typical happily-ever-after ending in a Hollywood rom-com? Don’t worry- there are no spoilers here. After all, part of the excitement (and frustration perhaps) is not knowing where you’ll end up a few years later.
But let’s start from the beginning when Garrett and Erin first meet, just hours in fact after Garrett is dumped by his girlfriend on her birthday (lesson number one- a girl doesn’t actually mean it when she says you don’t have to get her a birthday gift). Like the typical frat-boy, Garrett has a pair of foul-mouthed best friends (Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) and it is at a bar where they attempt to console Garrett that he meets Erin at the arcade machine.
Their attraction is almost instantaneous and over the next six weeks, record company junior executive Garrett will strike up a romance with journalism student/intern Erin over beer, bongs and sex. By the time Erin has to return to San Francisco to finish journalism school, they will realise that they have already fallen in love. Thus begins their long-distance relationship, one in the Bay Area and the other in the Big Apple, a three-hour time difference and a lot, a lot of sea and land in between. Still they persevere, holding on to the prospect of Erin getting a full-time job at the same newspaper after she graduates.
It doesn’t turn out as they plan (who’s does really?) and soon in between meeting for Thanksgiving and other holidays while skipping others, Garrett and Erin have to deal with a host of issues- Garrett’s jealousy over Erin’s co-worker; Erin’s overprotective elder sister’s (Christina Applegate) dislike of Garrett; Garrett and Erin’s dissatisfaction at their lack of intimacy and of course, the ever-present nagging thought that they may just meet someone better whom they will be happier with than in their current state. And no, even with the benefits of modern technology like texting and Skyping, that physical distance still manages to translate into emotional distance.
Unfolding over the course of a year, Geoff LaTulippe’s script observes the toll that such relationships have on couples. Almost every aspect of Garrett and Erin’s challenges in keeping their love alive rings true, and it is this genuineness that makes this story easily relatable to anyone who may or may not have lived and loved through a long-distance relationship. Owning perhaps to her documentary-style background, director Nanette Burstein brings an authentic feel to her feature-film debut, right down to her portrayal of the struggles that the newsroom and the music industry where Erin and Garrett work are facing today.
She has also found a great pairing in the rumoured on-and-off real-life couple Justin Long and Drew Barrymore, the two leads sharing an easy rapport with each other. Indeed, Justin and Drew seem to ooze chemistry so effortlessly onscreen that it doesn’t take much to convince you that Garrett and Erin are really in love. Thanks to the goodwill they earn, you’ll be more than willing to smile along with the obligatory ‘aw-shucks’ moments in the film- courtesy of Garrett’s roommate Dan who insists on finding the right ‘80s tune for his buddy.
You’re also likely to forgive the movie for its surprising vulgarity. Yes, there is a distinct sense that it is trying, perhaps too hard, to appeal to the Judd Apatow-comedy crowd, the same crowd that made “The Hangover” such a runway success. Unfortunately, this isn’t that type of comedy, and its somewhat misplaced attempts at frat-boy humour are only redeemed by how gamely its ensemble cast deliver them- or how valiantly Justin and Drew put up with them.
But it isn’t the talk of masturbation, fellatio or dry-humping that you’ll remember most about this movie- instead, it is the honest portrayal of two people trying their very best to go the distance for love. Indeed, for one who has been there and tried that, it isn’t at all easy, but no matter the nagging doubts, it’s still something you won’t give up without a fight- and “Going the Distance” is at once poignant and bittersweet that way.
(Sweet, funny and charming, this pleasant comedy will win you over with its honest portrayal of two people going the distance for love)
Review by Gabriel Chong