Alright, summer is finally over and all I can do is give a big sigh of relief. I feel the same way when it comes to this latest addition to the Rom-Com category. After a few viewings of the trailer I had to say that I was a little worried. Mostly because it felt like Going the Distance was just the first of many that would try to cash in on the crowd the (500) Days of Summer left behind. I’m happy to say I was wrong and the only thing Going the Distance has in common with one of my favorite movies from last year is how much I enjoyed it.
Going the Distance is the story of Erin and Garrett, a couple that are trying to extend their summer romance across time zones. This decision to dive head first into the ever dreaded long distance relationship leads to more serious thoughts about their lives, careers, and if its worth giving it all up for love. I know what you’re thinking, but hold back that urge to vomit just a little bit longer as Going the Distance isn’t just another one of those sappy love stories. It has the perfect mixture of heart and reality to hold back that gag reflex and leave you with a smile.
The credit is mostly due to the chemistry Justin Long and Drew Barrymore bring to the screen. Even though the two are together in real life, it’s hard to get that emotion to translate on film. Long and Barrymore do this perfectly along with injecting their own brand of humor into the film. I have been a fan of Long’s comic ability since his performance in Zach and Miri Make a Porno and he delivers just as well here. Barrymore keeps up with the star-studded comic cast without much difficulty and still manages to evoke the girl next door charm we all know and love.
While Barrymore and Long gave great performances it was Charlie Day as Dan that stole the show. If you enjoy his humor on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia then you will not be disappointed when it comes to Going the Distance. While it would be hard for me to believe that most of his screen time wasn’t total improvisation I can say that I counted the minutes until his return. Day shows that he can hold his own on the big screen and I personally can’t wait to see him in more films.
Going into a film I never make it a habit to check a film’s rating, mostly because I’m not fourteen, I don’t have kids and I lay nowhere near the moral center. To my surprise though Going the Distance is full of just the right amount of vulgarity to make me smile. It’s not that I think an over abundant amount of cursing can make a film better, I just like that this movie throws care to the wind and just sets out to be the movie it wants to be. We are in a world right now where an R rating brings nothing but cringes from Hollywood executives. It seems like more time is spent dodging the F-word to get the ever stellar PG-13 than is ever put into the story. So, its kind of a breath of fresh air when a film just lets it all go and makes a conscious decision to just be what it is; rating be damned.
Like the film’s vulgarity, the story itself is completely relatable; this is what makes it so special. In most romantic comedies we are asked to buy into a Cinderella story, the couple faces an obstacle that is easily overcome and one of the participants ends up in the life of their dreams. It’s about time that Hollywood woke up and started making movies where everything isn’t always ideal. Though both of our characters have the typical movie dream jobs they are tainted by the reality of the death of their industries. Even though Erin and Garrett are falling for each other, it’s not with out it’s difficulties making them more relatable.
This is where the film ultimately wins, it gives you what you want from any movie, that escape, but also leaves you thinking about or remembering parts of your own life. While at times it’s fun to see the prostitute find a prince, it’s even more satisfying watching two normal people do whatever it takes to just be together. That, in a way, is Going the Distance and for me that’s what makes it so great.
I give Going the Distance 4 “Baby Pigeons” out of 5
By Ryan Davis