Long distance relationships never work out and unfortunately movies about them rarely do either. “Going the Distance,” the new rom com from real life exes Drew Barrymore and Justin Long explores the ups (as in up in the air) and downs (as in crashing back to reality) of long distance dating.
Garrett (Long) is a record company grunt who has never had a serious relationship with a woman. On the verty night he breaks up with his latest one (or two or three) night stand he meets Erin (Barrymore), a rough edged intern at the New York Sentinel. A drunken roll in the hay leads to a burgeoning love match, trouble is, Erin is leaving New York at the end of the summer to return to grad school in San Francisco. They make a deal not to become emotionally attached but nature takes its course and they fall in love. They are determined not to let the 3000 mile hole in the relationship affect their lives but before long jealousies and petty arguments cast a shadow on the union.
“Going the Distance” follows the patented Barrymore Method© rom com design to a tee—unlikely couple meets, falls in love, overcomes obstacles, breaks up and… well, I’m not going to give away the ending but if you don’t know it already then either you don’t have a romantic bone in your body or you’ve never seen a Drew Barrymore movie (“ET” excluded).
The Barrymore Method© movies usually scrape by based on her charm and the chemistry between her and her love interest. In “Going the Distance” the chemistry between Barrymore and Long can’t be denied. They touch one another like intimates—which they were in real life when the move was shot—and have a comfortable worn-in way about them on screen.
Too bad the script has such a worn out feel to it. Unfunny and predictable, it limps along from one rom com cliché to the next. Is there the caring but edgy sister? Check. How about the goofy male best friends, brimming with bad advice but who ultimately turn out to be pretty good guys? Check. Perhaps an airport scene or two? Check. It’s all there, straight out of the romantic comedy rule book.
What isn’t there is a reason why we should care. Not only have we seen these characters—or variations on them—many times before, but they’re called romantic comedies for a reason. But when the romance involves puffing on a bong and falling into bed while a roommate listens in the next room or making love on a dining room table without noticing the man at the head of the table eating a sandwich, it doesn’t exactly fill the screen with warmth. Add to that a lack of memorable jokes and it doesn’t really qualify as a comedy either.
Best to keep your distance from “Going the Distance.”