Friday, September 3, 2010

Movie Review: Going the Distance

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Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer. Long weekend. Hopefully a weekend to cap off the summer nicely. Wanting to laugh, I chose the romantic comedy with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long playing two lovers who were trying to make a bi-coastal relationship work. By the time the 109 minutes had passed, I felt like I was Going the Distance just to make it through the movie.

Garrett (Long) has just been dumped by his girlfriend. To get over the sorrow, his roommate Dan (Charlie Day) and friend Box (Jason Sudeikis of SNL fame) take him to a bar where he meets and immediately bonds with Erin (Barrymore) over a game of Centipede and bar trivia. Instant sparks between the two! Both come to the conclusion that they would like to continue to see each other but it comes with a caveat. She's leaving in six weeks to go back to San Francisco at the end of an internship at a New York city newspaper.

Predictably they get along famously and when her departure time arrives, they decide they want to try to make it work via a long distance relationship. E-mails, video chats, texting and phone calls are tools in the arsenal to keep and grow the connection between them. It's not like the old days where you'd have to wait for the post office to deliver a letter or run up huge long distance bills. With laptop cameras standard today, "seeing" each other is very simple process outside of dealing with time zones. They might not be able to go to the movies together, but they can watch the same YouTube video simultaneously via the web.

Eventually they are going to have to make a decision. Who is willing to compromise and make the move. Erin's living in a room in her sister's and brother in law's house. She's got it pretty comfy. Garret has his awesome job with a record label that allows him to live with Dan in an apartment constructed of paper thin walls which provides for a running joke throughout the movie. What to do, what to do?

Following the formula: boy finds girl, boy looses girl, boy regains girl, the first is covered adequately. This happens for about half the movie. The second and third parts of the movie are not as strong as they should be. The conflicts that you would expect to happen, don't really happen and for the ones that do, they seem to overcome them like a knife cutting through room temperature butter. It didn't come through like the obstacles they faced were particularly tough to defeat.

One aspect of the movie that detracted from the overall tone and plot was the language. I recently heard that a freelance writer makes three cents per word in their stories. If that's the case, writer Geoff LaTulippe made about $67.35 with the swear words in this movie. It was rated R for sexual content including dialogue, language throughout, some drug use and brief nudity. That didn't bother me, not trying to be a prude or anything. The drugs and the language were in there and they didn't add to the story. It was fluff filler and didn't give any more depth to the characters or move the story forward. I think they were using it to try to distract you from realizing the weak writing that permeated this film.

A few of the scenes were funny. Barrymore has shown that she can do an awesome job. Look at Whip It. Oh wait, she starred in and directed that one! Maybe she should have directed this one too. So much more could have come from this movie in both the comedy and romance. Grease Sing-A-Long, I'm hoping that you'll give me a good end to the summer movie season because Going the Distance didn't go the distance for me.

The Movie Monkey

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