Friday, September 24, 2010

Going the Distance ***

Director: Nanette Burstein
Cast: Drew Barrymore, Justin Long
Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Ron Livingston, Natalie Morales
Jim Gaffigan, Christina Applegate

There is something about Going the Distance that probably makes it the kind of movie you either really like or just completely despise. Something about how ordinary it is makes it feasible for you to be swept off your feet or offended by its brand of comedy.
It's a basic story about boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy tries to get back girl but it does so in a way that seems unique if only because it's so lacking in the kind of cynicism that rules the genre nowadays.
By no means the savior of the romantic comedy, at least it's refreshing because it buys its own clichés so much that you can't really accuse it of being too smart for its own good or too naive.
It tells the story of Erin (Barrymore) and Garrett (Long), she's interning at an NYC newspaper, he works for a music studio. They meet on a random night after an incident involving a Centipede machine and a few scenes later we see Erin trying to sneak out of Garrett's room after what seems like another one night stand.
But Garrett has the clever idea of asking Erin to join him for breakfast and pretty soon they realize they might wanna see each other again. They make things clear from the start though: he's just gotten out of a relationship (with Gossip Girl Leighton Meester who has a hilarious cameo) and she's due back in San Francisco to attend grad school after the summer is done.
Despite their best knowledge they end up falling in love and then must endure the long distance relationship mentioned in the title.
What follows is a series of hilarious moments in which we see them Skyping, texting, phone sexing and paying each other the random visit in order to see if they can make this last.
The movie isn't about long distance relationships as much as it is about people holding on desperately to whatever humanity they can find in these times.
That statement might make it sound like a profound study of love but the truth is that the movie perhaps would never even dare think of itself that way.
It's interesting to see the way in which the director gives the film a natural flow; the characters don't talk like smartasses and even their vulgarity seems part of who they are, as opposed to being profane for the sake of shocking, like most "adult" comedies do (you will love hearing Drew Barrymore say "fuck" and "dick" without blushing).
The way in which it deals with sex is refreshing (it's not an issue but it's not vapid either) and while it might not be the greatest romantic comedy ever, its approach to how people act nowadays feels groundbreaking.
Something about the characters' seeming immaturity gives Going the Distance enough punch to make you laugh your ass off while providing it with the sort of melancholy that springs from laughing to keep from crying.
In its apparent craziness and nothingness, the film taps onto the terrifying fact that even if dating has changed and sex is no longer taboo, even the most skeptical find themselves yearning for "the one".
It might not be The Way We Were but except from an overdone scene featuring Applegate (who otherwise is a true scene stealer) this movie might just steal your heart.

1 comment:

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

I love Drew, as a person (don't love her acting) and Justin Long seems fun but I just don't see them as a feasible couple. Yet, I'm interested in seeing it. Pleasant but no groundbreaking is what I expect, and what your review points to...and I'm down with that.