September 13, 2010

Movie Review: Going the Distance

goingthedistance1_largeI had my doubts early on about this one. As any move fan knows, good romantic comedies are few and far between. I am fairly confident that there can be no more than 2 maybe 3 a year that are legitimately good. There may be others that you like for one reason or another, but they are not legitimately well made films. Last year one of the good ones made it to the great list and was a top five film for me, (500) Days of Summer. That was simply a great film, now it is not terribly comedic, but I believe you see what I am getting at.

Back to the doubts, I saw the trailer for this and at first I could not believe it would be any good. Then I watched the trailer a few more times and my thoughts began to shift a little bit. Add in the nicely composed poster and I began to think that this may be a winner. I cannot say I thought it would climb as high as (500) Days of Summer, but I began to have hopes that this had some higher aspirations than to just provide a couple of romantic chuckles.

Now, having seen the film I am happy to report that it exceeded all of my expectations. No, it does not climb as high as that other film, but it does set off in that direction. Going the Distance aims to represent a truth about relationships, their unpredictability, their importance, and the very real complications that can affect your life as a larger thing over just one small piece. I am not sure if this was the target, it is how it affected me. When it comes right down to it, filmmakers intentions only get you halfway there the rest of the experience is brought by the viewer and their life experiences. Ahh, the beauty of film.


As the movie begins, we meet Garrett (Justin Long), a music lover who works at a record label in New York City. He is not terribly good at the relationship thing, never having seen that spark of chemistry with his flings. Not to mention he does not know how to read some of the common signs given by the opposite sex, although I am not completely convinced that it is not tied into not seeing the spark. We also meet Erin (Drew Barrymore), a young woman who put off school for awhile and is now working towards finishing it. To that end she is at the tale end of a summer internship writing for a New York newspaper.

The two have a meet cute in a bar over a game of Centipede as they both seek to drown their problems. They immediately hit it off and a relationship ensues. The problem is that the relationship has an expiration date as Erin is moving back to the West Coast when the internship ends. They agree to keep it light. The problem is that they both see that spark.

What follows is their mutual attempts to balance a long distance relationship with the rest of their lives. Yes, they could be seen as being a little self-centered when it comes to their work. She is trying to find employment in the newspaper industry (which is repeatedly referred to as being in dire straits) and he is trying to work the indie side of the music business which is rapidly changing. This is somewhat interesting as those industries are in a state of flux, which I am sure relates to the state of Garrett and Erin's relationship.


So far as the self-centeredness goes, I don't buy it. These two are working in, or want to work in industries in an extreme state of flux. It is what they know and what they do, they also entered into this relationship with the understanding that the bigger picture came first. Granted, games of the heart are never quite that cut and dried and this is no different. When it comes right down to it you have to look at what is best for your own future and not throw it away on a relationship that may fall apart down the road.

Going the Distance works on a few different levels. You have love at first sight (even if they don't see it right away), troubles of long distance relationships, the difficult decisions of that get in the way, and more. I am probably not supposed to like this movie, but I do. Everything just clicked for me that helped bring this to the next level.


The supporting cast does a great job. Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis are the perfect weird best pals to Garrett. On the other side Barrymore is supported by Jim Gaffigan and Christina Applegate as sister and brother-in-law. They offer plenty of laughs and help to make the world feel a little more complete.

However, I think the biggest thing to help the movie is the great chemistry between Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, who I believe are a couple in the real world. They worked very well off of each other and I believed their relationship, something that is at the core of any cinematic romance.

Bottomline. Yes, I like this movie. It truly is a good movie. It is a little over the top at times and is not perfect, but it hits on a lot of ideas and concepts that many relationships must deal with. Give it a shot, you may just be surprised.

Highly Recommended.

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