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Going the distance
Long distance love gets tested in Nanette Burstein's rom-com 'Going the distance' starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long who are on-off lovers in real life.
Garrett (Long) has just come out of a relationship when he meets feisty Erin (Barrymore) in a bar where both are expert geeks with top scores on a computer games machine.
From there, they hit it off in an intense summer fling which comes to a natural end - or seemingly so, when Erin heads off to San Francisco leaving Garrett in New York.
The two of them though try to keep their relationship going by long distance txts and late night canoodles on the phone and here at least, LaTulippe's script is wisely astute, commendably showing how initial positivity in the relationship gives way to strain and frustration. Will the romance hit the rocks or will Erin and Garrett be able to hold on to the sparks that will keep their personal passions going ?
Burstein's film is mildly engaging and strongest when Long and Barrymore are sharing the screen during their whirlwind romance. The film is on shakier ground when Long is sharing time with a tedious pair of male pals, the strangely named Box (Jason Sudelkis) and Dan (Charlie Day) who just seem so contrived, they could have been cut out from the pack of a cereal packet. They are all too conveniently always there for Garrett and act like a pair of female confidantes being a lot more interested in their mate's lovelife than any blokes I could imagine would in real life. The film would zip along a good deal smoother without their inane wisecracks and the sight of one of them chatting to the other two whilst he sits on the loo-bowl. We simply don't need that particular image.
As a result, the film reaches an ending that many will see coming, with a certain degree of charm but also an obvious degree of predictability leaving you feeling you've just witnessed a fairly average rom-com with few redeeming features to make it stand out. Oh and to cap it all, Garrett's male pals hits the depths in the final reel, making a 'joke' about Hitler's final solution (yes, for sure, I never saw that one coming ..) and the gassing of the jews and in a train-crash of a pub scene that truly should have been left on the cutting-room floor, they even are allowed to highlight a pair of Jewish old men sitting in the corner, just to ensure that we completely get the connection. Its an anti-semitic joke that goes too far and out of place in any movie. That awful moment aside, Barrymore plays well an aspiring intern wanting a job as a hack and Long is less convincing as a music promoter merely because he never seems to do any work.
On a brighter note, there's a lot of footage late on of decent Indie act The Boxer Rebellion leaving you feeling the film is better as rock promo than it is as a rom-com.