GOING THE DISTANCE
* (out of 5)
September 3, 2010
Drew Barrymore as ERIN
Justin Long as GARRETT
Charlie Day as DAN
Jason Sudeikis as BOX
Christina Applegate as CORINNE
Ron Livingston as WILL
Oliver Jackson-Cohen as DAMON
Jim Gaffigan as PHIL
Studio: New Line Cinema
Directed by: Nanette Burstein
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
I have a confession to make. I’m a dude, and I really enjoy romantic comedies. Sure, they’re formulaic. Sure, they’re cheesy. Sure, they’re unrealistic as hell. But I find them sweet and adorable, and with the right actors in the roles, they can be a fun diversion from our humdrum lives.
I get that some folks don’t like them, and I understand why. But if you don’t like rom coms, just let them be and let the fans have their own. Don’t try to change the world with your own version of what you think a rom com should be.
It’s movies like “Going the Distance” that appear to be made by people who hate the standard romantic comedy formula, try to switch things up by adding copious amounts of profanity and crassness, then use all the cliches they complained about in the first place. It reminds me of when the film “Sideways” came out several years back, and critics had a collective orgasm about how this was the only romantic comedy they liked.
News flash, people… “Sideways” was not a rom com. Same goes for the Judd Apatow comedies like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.” These are comedies that include a romance. It’d be like classifying the “Twilight” movies as zombie films because it technically includes the walking dead.
But I digress about the perceived hatred of rom coms. Let’s get back to the film that tries so hard to not be one but can’t help but be a pale imitation.
“Going the Distance” is about a slacker in his 30s who works at a record label. He doesn’t want to promote the bands he’s told to promote but doesn’t quit his job. Then he meets a woman in her 30s who is a newspaper intern who is sour on life. They start a relationship, and when she has to go to school in California, they then deal with a long-distance relationship.
I know that women are not all pure and sweet, but I really don’t like to watch films where they talk like a drunken frat boy. It’s just unappealing. The conversations that Erin (Drew Barrymore’s character) has with her boyfriend, her sister and practically anyone else just makes her sound stupid rather than liberated.
But beyond the acting and the situations, “Going the Distance” was doomed at the script stage. It makes no sense that Erin is trying to break into newspaper reporting, which is dying faster than anyone cares to admit. Then there’s the fact that she’s way too old to be doing this. It’s explained in a throw-away line during the film, but that’s just a patch. Ultimately, it seems that the script was written for a woman in her early 20s, Barrymroe showed interest and they shoehorned her into the role.
Other elements of the movie that are normally a given in film are terrible. The make-up on Drew Barrymore makes her look as old (and as dead) as Lionel Barrymore. Then they dress her in outfits that you’re likely to see some 22-year-old wearing in a club. And we see recycled jokes many times in this film, and not from great sources. The spray-on tanning sequence was almost directly out of “Old Dogs.” Who rips off that movie?
“Going the Distance” is a crass excuse for a film. It relies on the off-screen chemistry between Barrymore and her on-again-off-again beau Justin Long. But sadly for both actors (whom I generally like), this is just one more example (in the company of “The Marrying Man,” “Gigli” and “Shanghai Surprise”) of how real-life couples often make shitty movies.