The summer of 2010 is drawing to a close but not without once last fling in the form of a romantic comedy about long distance relationships appropriately titled Going the Distance. Can real-life couple Justin Long and Drew Barrymore go toe to toe with the Na’vi, machete wielding tough guys and possessed teenagers and come out on top of the box office? Well that depends. Does the idea of Christina Applegate dry humping work for you on any level?
New Yorker Garrett (Justin Long) meets Erin (Drew Barrymore) a mere few hours after the dissolution of his most recent relationship. Californian Erin is finishing up a summer internship at a Gotham newspaper and not looking for a meaningful relationship. Good thing neither is Garrett. Six weeks later however, to the dismay of Garrett’s best friends Dan (“Sunny in Philadelphia’s” Charlie Day) and Box (a mustachioed Jason Sudeikis) the casual tryst has developed into a full-blown relationship. The time has come for Erin to return to San Francisco and her over protective sister (Christina Applegate) so a big decision has to be made and Erin and Garrett decide to continue their relationship from opposite sides of the country. Interfering friends and loved ones, loneliness and sexual frustration threaten to break the couple apart. The moment of truth comes when Erin and Garrett have to examine what they really want and what or who is best for them.
Let’s face it, you can’t get more adorable than Justin Long and Drew Barrymore. Justin gets to flex his leading man muscles much more than he was able to in He’s Just Not That Into You. He steps up his game by making Garrett charming, romantic and sympathetic. It’s very helpful that he has a cute butt, especially with a hand print on it. This is not Drew’s first rom-com rodeo. It’s a genre she excels at. What’s refreshing in this movie is that Erin has a bit of an edge to her. She’s gun-shy about relationships, having put her life on hold once before for some guy. That manifests in her dry humor and cavalier attitude. But there is also the sweetness we’re accustomed to seeing from our Barrymore characters. It’s a nice combination that makes Erin feel very real.
The secondary players pretty much steal the show in this film. Charlie Day is odd and lovable. Jason Sudeikis gives some horrible advice to our hero but some of his stranger theories end up with some credibility. My favorite performances were Christina Applegate as Erin’s sister Corrine and Jim Gaffigan as her brother in law Phil. Applegate in particular is hysterical. She is truly an under-used comedienne. One2Watch4 is Kelli Garner as Garrett’s comely co-worker Brianna. If you saw Lars and the Real Girl you may not believe that Kelli was the same sweet Margo.
This is one of those romantic comedies that ladies can feel all right bringing their fellas to. It’s a good mix of crass humor and sweet moments to appeal to a wider audience. And by crass I don’t mean Hangover crass. It’s more like 40 Year Old Virgin crass. The dialogue and situations seem natural, conversations you’d have with your friends. That’s got to be due in large part to the director, Nanette Burstein whose previous work was in documentaries. It has that voyeur feel to it in several scenes. All in all Going the Distance is an enjoyable movie. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. For once not all the funny bits were in the commercials mainly because you couldn’t show the funniest bits on TV. Well maybe you could on cable.