Film Review: Going the Distance

Drew Barrymore and Justin Long prove their chemistry works as well on-screen as it does off in this likeable and surprisingly funny romantic comedy.

Erin and Garrett meet in a New York bar and hit it off. As Erin is due to return to her San Francisco home, the couple agree to keep things light. Once they fall for each other, Erin and Garrett embark on a long distance relationship…

On the surface, Going the Distance shouldn’t work. The premise is hardly thrilling; it is the type of love story that has been done numerous times before. However, Going the Distance works pretty well. It is the combination of the humour and the chemistry between the two leads which make it a very enjoyable movie.

Whilst both Barrymore and Long are good comedic actors, much of the humour is derived from the support cast. Dan and Box, best friends of Garrett, bring a lot of the crude but funny but jokes, whilst Erin’s sister Corinne and her husband Phil work equally well as the married odd couple.

The chemistry between Barrymore and Long will leave the audience rooting for the couple. In the initial scenes between the pair, the writing excels, making their initial attraction appear realistic and authentic. Whilst some aspects of the romance and the humour are not the most original, Going the Distance is one of the better recent entries in the rom-com genre because it successfully balances frequent comedy with believable romance and drama.

Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis are well-cast as Garrett’s best friends. There seems to be a natural camaraderie between the pair and Long, which makes their scenes genuinely amusing. Christina Applegate once again shows her flair for comedy as Erin’s highly-strung older sister. Jim Gaffigan compliments Corinne perfectly as her under-the-thumb husband Phil, showing more subtle, but equally effective, comedic style.

Director Nanette Burstein has added a nice touch to Going the Distance by mixing the traditional with the modern. Whilst Erin and Garrett use modern technology to communicate (text messaging and online chat, for example), there are also elements of their courtship that have a more retro feel. The couple meet whilst playing an arcade game, and Erin writes her phone number down on a napkin for Garrett, rather than typing it into his phone. This, coupled with a soundtrack that features The Cure, makes the relationship appear quaint, in a positive sense.

If you are looking for a romantic comedy that is actually lives up to its description, Going the Distance might be just the ticket.

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