Barrymore's Long Distance Romance
For around the first 20 minutes I was seriously unimpressed with "Going the Distance" with an abundance of forced jokes, throwing one sexual joke after another. But get beyond this troubled opening and "Going the Distance" grows on you as it humorously delves into the trials and tribulations of a long distance romance. It manages to highlight all those issues such as insecurity, depression and the inevitable feeling horny and frustrated which can blight such a relationship and delivers them in a humorous way but also keeping that element of reality to it, so for those who have gone through a long distance romance can empathise with Erin and Garrett's struggles. It's just a shame that the first 20 minutes are so forced because even the sort of cop out of an ending still works and "Going the Distance" could have been more than just an average romantic comedy.
With just 6 more weeks left working as an intern at the New York Sentinel before returning home to San Francisco Erin (Drew Barrymore - He's Just Not That Into You) is not looking for love. But love finds her when she meets Garrett (Justin Long - Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel) in a bar one night and in those 6 weeks they become very serious about each other. When Erin has to return to San Francisco they agree to try to keep their relationship going even if they are on opposite sides of the country but their long distance romance brings with it a lot of issues as they have to deal with trust, loneliness and feeling horny. But as time passes it becomes apparent that they can't go on like this and either they need to find a solution or call it a day.
Anyone who has found themselves in a long distance romance will know how hard it is as it brings with it a lot of different feelings and issues. And for the most "Going the Distance" does a good job of exploring the emotional complexities of a long distance relationship that is once it gets the very forced introduction out of the way with. Now to be honest "Going the Distance" isn't about how Erin and Garrett meet or fall in love but the forced meet cute in a bar over an arcade machine is painful and so are the next few scenes as we get a montage of their whirlwind romance before Erin has to leave New York after 6 weeks. There are some clever moments in this opening, Garrett's flat mate with a penchant for playing movie soundtracks through the wall is amusingly clever but then it is spoilt by so much forced humour. Watching Erin with a messy face after ravishing a plate of food isn't in the least bit funny and is one of those early scenes which forces the humour.
The good thing is that get past this purposely rushed meet cute and romance and "Going the Distance" quickly grows on you as it gets into the main storyline that of how Erin and Garrett deal with their long distance romance. The strength of this is that whilst it still delivers comedy scene after scene it manages to be very real in what it makes fun of. Anyone who has been in a long distance romance knows how difficult it can be dealing with feelings of insecurity, depression and being horny as well as how being apart can lead to arguments and stress and all of these crop up in "Going the Distance". You find yourself empathising with Erin and Garrett as they run the gauntlet of emotions and issues, whilst laughing at the way these episodes are made funny, well you have to laugh when ever someone decides to try phone sex. Strangely whilst the humour of these trials and tribulations is still forced it strangely works and watching Erin and Garrett impatiently get down to it on Erin's sister's dining table only to be interrupted is quite simply hilarious.
Now here is the thing, we go through these romantic trials and tribulations with Erin and Garrett and watch how it becomes increasingly more difficult to sustain a long distance romance leading to arguments and more issues but how do you bring it to closure. And in a way writer Geoff LaTulippe and director Nanette Burstein have chickened out by delivering what is wanted rather than what is real. But in a strange way it works, it's not the greatest of endings but it nicely brings closure to this romantic tale.
What certainly helps "Going the Distance" is the fact that Drew Barrymore and Justin Long come across as comfortable together which is of course down to their on-off relationship. But because of this the romantic moments, that first stoned kiss, the sex scene on the table and many more feel believable. And so does the flow of dialogue as there is a natural rhythm to the way they interact which just helps to make it so much more enjoyable. Barrymore and Long are not alone and whilst there just for laughs Garrett's friends Dan and Box are wonderfully played by Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis. The same can be said of Christina Applegate as Erin's sister whose fear of germs delivers so many laughs especially following the dining table scene.
What this all boils down to is that "Going the Distance" is a movie which grows on you especially if you've been through the gauntlet of emotions which a long distance romance brings with it. It is a bit rocky to start with as it forces the humour and the whirlwind romance in order to get to the main part of the movie but when it gets there "Going the Distance" is worth all those cringe worthy moments.