Going the Distance

Going the Distance

Starring Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, and Christine Applegate
Directed by Nanette Burstein (American Teen)
Rated R for sexual content including dialogue, language throughout, some drug use and brief nudity
Appropriate for ages 17+

    When Erin (Barrymore) and Garrett (Long) meet and fall for each other in New York City, they wind up in a long distance relationship when she has to return home to San Francisco to complete school.  Over the course of many back and forth trips, the two of them must decide what is best for them – their careers or each other. 

    Right away this film shows problems due to its horrific title.  Going the Distance sounds like a bad Hilary Duff film rather than a raunchy adult comedy.  So knowing that the film doesn’t know what it is enough to pick an appropriate title is a huge warning flag. 

    And then you get into the picture and realize that while the language is dirty as can be and the cast thinks they are funny, the lack of energy keeps the film from ever getting off the ground. 

    I can’t fault this very talented cast for the lack of energy because while the premise isn’t bad, the script is full of some of the unfunniest material I’ve seen in years.  From the mustache to dry humping, the jokes just don’t work for the most part.  Of course there are the few chuckles that slip by which I can only assume are riffed by the actors, but to be considered a comedy the film needs a bit more than what this picture offers. 

    Another problem here is a bad choice of director in Nanette Burstein who has made some excellent documentaries (if you haven’t seen The Kid Stays in the Picture – put it in your Netflix queue tonight), but whose filmmaking style doesn’t translate well at all in this medium.  Maybe a more experienced comedy director could have come in and picked up the pace a bit and not had me looking at my watch every third second wondering when this ordeal would end. 

    And thus the romantic comedy slump continues.  C-