“Going The Distance” Goes Some Distance But Stops Short
Saying that you like romantic comedies makes many people silently judge you and think: you’re a brainless girl with really horrible taste in movies (even if you don’t happen to be a girl).
And excellent films like “500 Days of Summer,” “Knocked Up,” and “High Fidelity” separate themselves from the chick-flick atrocities, claiming that they’re more for men (and for people who think).
What’s great about this movie is that it tells the story from the female perspective, but is grounded in real life while still being hilarious. Drew Barrymore and Justin Long seem like people you’d go to the corner bar with to unwind after a miserable day at work.
“I’m 31, I’m an intern, I’m going to get shitfaced,” says Barrymore’s character after a brutal day at her newspaper internship. Justin Long’s character had me when he said his favorite album was Licensed to Ill (Beastie Boys).
Additionally, part of the movie’s charm is that it doesn’t focus on the story, but more on the relatability of their relationship. The story is in the commercial and in the title, in fact. Director Nanette Burstein has done award-winning documentaries (“On the Ropes,” “The Kid Stays in the Picture,” “American Teen”), and you can tell by those influences that “Going the Distance” feels more like a character study of two people trying to make it together.
The movie is about Erin (Drew Barrymore), a 31-year-old grad student at Stanford interning for the summer at a fictitious New York City newspaper. She meets Garrett (Justin Long) and they begin a six-week relationship before she has to leave for the West Coast. At first they try to keep it casual, but before long, they realize that they love each other and will try to make the long distance thing work.
Barrymore and Long are so natural with each other, they make you believe they’re best friends and really deserve to be together. You can never tell if they're on or off again in real life, but in this movie, they're definitely on the same wavelength.
In addition, the supporting cast like Christina Applegate, who plays Barrymore’s sister, and Charlie Day, who plays Long’s roommate, were so silly and great, I wish they had more screen time.
That being said, the movie does have its flaws. “Going the Distance” started off so strong that I wanted to love it, but the middle lagged, and the ending fell into the crappy Hollywood trap that so many movies do; what started out as reality ended in a fantasy. It was such a letdown that they couldn’t pull off a real ending in a clever and funny way that it fit right into the dreaded female side of the genre.
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