2 stars

Going the Distance - Movie Review


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Earlier in the year, there was some speculation that the high-concept of Going the Distance might actually be this year’s 500 Days of Summer.  Unfortunately, it is not.  While the film benefits from a strong cast that includes Drew Barrymore, Justin Long and Charlie Day (of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” fame)¸ Going the Distance is pretty much a meandering misfire from start to finish.

Directed by Nanette Burstein, the narrative ponders the age-old question of long distance relationships in the modern world.  Can they be successful?  Long plays Garrett, a record company junior executive, and Barrymore is Erin, a journalism student.  The two unexpectedly meet and are later shocked when they find themselves “accidentally” in a whirlwind romance…and then at a distance.  While both are career-minded, neither can find work in the other person’s city of choice and neither believes that modern devices can be used as intimate body doubles...except in one butt-numbing scene of phone sex.  How can these two people make their world work?  How, indeed.

Written by Geoff LaTulippe, Going the Distance stumbles over its own feet with annoyingly used foul-mouthed sprinklings of a production that really wants to belong to the Judd Apatow pantheon.  Not that Apatow is the only one who can use potty-mouthed hilarity to great affect, but the adult situations Going the Distance toys around with aren’t natural at all and are clumsily crafted with hands that apparently only assembled train wrecks before working on this film.  A little dramatic?  Yes, but at times the situations in Going the Distance are that "derailing" of an experience for the audience.  In spite of the obvious chemistry between Long and Barrymore, that is hefty amount of forced awkwardness pushed on-screen, too much at times;  contrived conflicts; unrealistic challenges; and some majorly unsatisfying story elements that see a drunken Barrymore embarrassingly berating a barroom redneck.

The film suffers from its dualistic identity.  In one hand, Going the Distance seems to pride itself in being about young adults, yet it constantly surrounds itself with some really juvenile behavior - even Christina Applegate’s appearance as Erin’s germ phobic sister can’t sustain any sense of sophistication within her unrealistic dislike of Garrett.  Going the Distance, when it comes time to “man up” and be serious, turns to humor in desperation.  It simply can’t decide on which finger to pull or how much flatulence is too much, and, as a result, it simply stinks up the room.

Going the Distance has a visually realistic lens that does make the romcom seem less factory-produced, but that lens can’t add any amount of reality to its routine checklist of contrivances.  This is one screenplay that works best left alone on a shelf.  Simply put, Going the Distance doesn’t know what type of comedy it wants to be.  I can see the appeal of the script and can understand why it was on Hollywood’s infamous Black List, but something about the script gets lost in translation from page to screen, something important for a film about long distance relationships.

Its commitment.

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
2 stars

2 stars

Blu-ray Experience
2 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - November 30, 2010
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy (on disc); DVD copy


Commentary Track

  • Feature-length audio commentary track with director Nanette Burstein


  • How to Have the Perfect Date (HD, 8 minutes)
  • A Guide to Long Distance Dating (HD, 8 minutes)
  • The Cast of Going the Distance: Off the Cuff (HD, 4 minutes)

Deleted Scenes (HD, 13 minutes)


  • If You Run
  • Going the Distance soundtrack