GOING THE DISTANCE
When Erin (Drew Barrymore), an intern on the New York Standard meets assistant music scout Garrett (Justin Long), neither is interested in a relationship with a commitment. With only six weeks left to her internship, Erin is about to return to school in San Francisco, where she lives with her sister Corinne (Christina Applegate), her husband Phil (Jim Gaffigan) and young daughter. When chemistry prompts a more serious connection between Erin and Garrett, they decide to try to make their long distance relationship work, only to discover the pitfalls of text messages, phone calls and infrequent flights, prompting loneliness, bad advice from well meaning friends and miscommunication.
Review by Louise Keller:
Be prepared to be underwhelmed by this contrived romantic comedy that falls as flat as the dining room table on which Drew Barrymore and Justin Long make out. It's not raunchy either and there's a distinct lack of chemistry between the two leads, which will surprise many, considering their on-off real-life romance.
The film starts well enough when we meet Long's well-meaning but well-meaning music scout Garrett being dumped by his girlfriend; he is confused because what she says isn't what she means. Over beers and a game of centipede, he meets Barrymore's ebullient Erin, whose New York journalist internship has six weeks remaining before she heads back to University in San Francisco. There's a certain charm about those early scenes when they bond during a bar trivia-quiz and happily fall into bed together without considering the consequences. The music-through-the-wall gags from Garrett's uncool flatmate Dan (Charlie Day), who forgets to honour their agreement of proximity without participation, works well enough as does the blossoming of the romance as dinners and beach frolics which precede Erin's inevitable return home. The subsequent serial texting, 4am calls and phone sex are pretty plastic, but it's not until Garrett makes his way to visit Erin at her sister's Corinne chaotic home (Christina Applegate, terrific), that the film really dips.
A mishap-filled thanksgiving dinner, an unfunny artificial tanning scene, inebriated dart throwing, plus conversations about dry humping are some of the subsequent low points, as Erin and Garrett jet East and West to figure out how to make their long distance relationship work. There's an abundance of deep and meaningless chat between Garrett and mates, Erin and Corinne, work colleagues and potential lovers, but none of it means much or rings true. The Big Apple looks wonderful - those brief glimpses of an ice-covered Central Park and a glittering Radio City at Christmas time transport us there, albeit briefly. Barrymore is appealing and Long is surprisingly good, but together, they don't sizzle. Nor does the film.
The direction lacks energy, the script runs out of ideas and trite setups fail to generate genuine laughs. Even the dazzle of lovely Barrymore fails to rescue the film from taking flight. Going the distance? Not likely.
Published first in the Sun-Herald
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GOING THE DISTANCE (MA)
CAST: Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Christina Applegate, Charlie Day, Ron Livingston, Kristen Schaal, Rob Riggle, Natalie Morales
PRODUCER: Jennifer Gibgot, Garrett Grant, Adam Shankman
DIRECTOR: Nanette Burstein
SCRIPT: Geoff LaTulippe
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Eric Steelberg
EDITOR: Peter Teschner
MUSIC: Mychael Danna
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Kevin Kavanaugh
RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 26, 2010