Nanette Burstein"s Going the Distance (2010) is a romantic comedy that tries to mix the raunchiness of a typical Judd Apatow production with the sweetness of a typical "chick flick." But the mixture is not something that you will end up appreciating or can be suggested as a good date flick!
Drew Barrymore is Erin, a summer intern at a New York newspaper who meets not-so-cute with the newly dumped Garrett (Justin Long). After bonding over bar trivia, they hook up, though Erin is reluctant to get too attached since she"ll be heading back to California in six weeks. The relationship, however, is going really well, leaving the two absolutely miserable when she heads home to finish grad school. They visit each other as often as possible, but neither wants to be the one to move cross-country in order to stay together, which has them questioning the other"s priorities as well as their own.
Director Nanette Burstein is best known for her documentary features (such as The Kid Stays in the Picture and American Teen), which were well-made. Unfortunately, she lets her narrative feature debut get out of control in a hurry. Mostly the film is just flat. It's funny, and the actors are all just fine, but it never really seems to take on any life and the whole conflict of the long-distance relationship never gains much weight beyond being a catalyst for the cliched plot. At times, you can see some real potential in this material, especially with the likable Barrymore and Long as the leads. And some of the side characters are amusing. Television actors Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day play his buddies; Christina Applegate and Jim Gaffigan are her sister and brother-in-law. But their presences sidetrack the story, and the situations get sillier and crasser as the film goes along.
When it's not confounding or irritating, though, the film tends to work. It was an inspired decision to cast a real couple as the two leads, and it worked out pretty perfectly. Long and Barrymore have excellent chemistry and play very well off of each other, and ultimately it makes for one of the most believable screen romances for quite a while
Going the Distance carried potential to be a good romantic comedy but the opportunity sadly seems wasted in here!
Producer: Jennifer Gibgot, Jared Hess and Adam Shankman
Director: Nanette Burstein
Cast: Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day and Christina Applegate
Music: Mychael Danna
Rating: 2 out of 5*