Sunday, 22 August 2010
FILM REVIEW: GOING THE DISTANCE
This latest romantic comedy comes as a pleasant surprise and mostly because, unlike most rom-coms of late, there's no gunfire or car chases to keep our lovers preoccupied; the tyranny of distance is the only evil threatening to keep the couple apart. There's also a lot more rom in this com, no doubt due to real life on-again-off-again couple, Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, playing the leads.
Garrett (Long) and Erin (Barrymore) meet-cute in a New York bar where he's kind of mourning the end of another relationship (apparently it happens to him a lot), and she (Barrymore), an intern at the New York Sentinel newspaper, is bummed by her inability to impress her editor. There's an instant spark and a one night stand ensues.
But at breakfast the next morning, the two decide there may be more going on and agree to see each other over the next six weeks but on a casual basis: that's when Erin's internship ends and she heads home to San Francisco. By the time that date rolls around, the two are pretty much in love and so agree to try a long distance relationship.
Director Nanette Burstein, who comes from a documentary background (she made the excellent American Teen), effectively depicts the ebb and flow of a new romance, helped invariably by the chemistry between her two leads. There's also an honesty to the dialogue between the two and the concerns they have about their relationship. Honest, too, are the conversations between Erin and her sister, Corinne (Christina Applegate), which run the gamut of heartfelt to blue.
Not so believable is the dialgoue between Garrett and his two buddies, Dan (Charlie Day) and Box (Jason Sudeikis), which smacks more of the Apatow style of man-child comedy. Do guys really talk like this? There's also one glaring concession to easy laughs: a scene at a tanning salon is both unnecessary and unfunny given that it's pretty much all in the trailer and not funny then either.
My heckles were also being raised when, about three quarters in, it looked as though the film was suggesting that if sacrifices were to be made it would be she and not he who would have to make them. Thankfully those fears were allayed and the denouement is, surprisingly for a Hollywood rom com, more realistically satisfying than happily ever after.