Dec 6, 2010

[Movies] Going The Distance (2010)

Going The Distance (2010)Drew Barrymore movies are a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. I know, I know, there's no hard or fast rule about geeks such as myself (primary alignments include science fiction, fantasy and technology) should feel bad about liking her movies, but I times I sort of do. I guess that's just my Y chromosome reasserting itself just for the heck of things or something along those lines.

But I do admit I like watching them since her brand of humor isn't that bad at all and she does tend to pick fairly interesting roles for herself, which is always a good thing. Plus she tends to be in movies that don't go over the top in terms of the highly shallow brand of gross-out humor a lot of comedies have resorted to. For the most part, one can still detect the efforts of the writers to be witty and to make sure Drew doesn't come out looking like a total ditz or something.

And this movie was definitely a surprise for me. I went in with very low expectations and just banking on getting a good laugh from Drew. I ended up with a nice warm and fuzzy feeling - the kind you get after watching that was somehow fulfilling and not just another rehash of an old concept.

Going The Distance is a 2010 romantic comedy directed by Nanette Burstein and written by Geoff LaTulippe.

Drew Barrymore 2Image via WikipediaThe movie focuses on two characters who happen to meet one night. One is Erin (Drew Barrymore), a 31 year old summer intern at a New York newspaper. The other is Garrett (Justin Long), who works for a struggling record label. Because an old game of Caterpillar, the two end up meeting and find that they feel immediately comfortable with one another. As these things go, they end up sleeping together and are left with trying to figure out what all this means the next morning. Despite Erin's efforts to leave, Garrett asks her to stay for breakfast, and she agrees.

The catch here is the fact that regardless of how well the two get along, Erin's internship is going to end in 6 weeks, after which she'll return to San Francisco. Given that Garrett had just gotten out of a relationship himself, the two agree that this would all be some brand of casual dating while Erin is in town. But as the weeks progress, the two get more and more close and soon realize that they still want to find a way to make things work despite living on opposite ends of the country.

So this becomes more than just a movie about two kids falling in love, but one of long distance relationships. Plus there's the whole obvious statement about both of them working in what are perceived to be dying industry - print newspapers and traditional music labels. I'm not quite sure where the writers wanted to go with that one since that weird side arc to things didn't really get all that resolved, not that it would have been logical for that to happen either. I'm not sure what I was expecting there, but that particular resolution didn't quite work.

What did work for me was the on-screen chemistry between Barrymore and Long - I can totally see how everyone was convinced that relationship was going to go somewhere serious. Sure, the roles they were playing were most definitely written for one another, to be rather corny about it, but the writing doesn't always translate into the actual acting. Thus in that regard, good job you two. Drew was as funny as ever and there was a clear demonstration of her aging in terms of maturity of her role and overall characterization. Justin wasn't too bad either with the obvious kudos needing to go out to his physical form at the time. Who would have thought he was that hot under all those layers of clothing in those PC vs Mac ads?

The complexity of their on-screen relationship was definitely well thought-out. There was clearly an effort to somewhat showcase all the problems of long-distance relationships including all the time zone mix-ups, the holidays-via-video-conferencing and all that jazz. But of course you had these two individuals trying to beat the odds and making sure that they found a way to keep things going. Plus I liked the fact that they weren't strangely rich or overly gifted in getting good travel deals. The limitations of not being able to fly to visit the other as much as they wanted to gave the whole story a whole different level of authenticity.

Going The Distance is a nice spin on the romantic movie genre and one that ends in a satisfying manner that didn't feel too formulaic. It gets 4 inappropriate sexual acts done on a dining table out of a possible 5.
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