Romy Shiller

Going the Distance

In Film, review on August 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I wish that you were here or that I were there, or that we were together anywhere!

Author Unknown

What a friggin’ surprise. I liked this film (dir. Nanette Burstein) and thought I was going to get uber-cheese or at the very least, tackiness. Instead, there was an edgy style in a familiar framework.

Plot: A romantic comedy centered on a guy and a gal who try to keep their love alive as they shuttle back and forth between New York and San Francisco to see one another. (IMDB)

There is a formula for Hollywood romantic comedies – you don’t need to be psychic.  So within a specific model an edgy aesthetic is welcome.  Jeff Winston explains;  “Very simple – Boy meets girl, girl either outright hates or is indifferent to boy, girl and boy interact in some kind of contrived way, girl thinks she likes boy, girl and boy have a major fight and boy and girl make up in some wonderful cinematic location or in some climactic way. Now of course, you can interchange the sexes in this formula, much like John Hughes did in the wonderful movie SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL. The formula however remains quite constant and is the backbone of MOST romantic comedies.” (

This film fits the model.

I didn’t notice any corny, lingering reaction shots. There was no swelling music which indicated ‘feel now.’ Spielberg does this a lot – but I digress. The main characters were interesting and used off-colour language, there was tension – between the lovers, their jobs, their friends…in other words, there was a move away from fantasy into an attempt toward messy life. I’m very suspicious of fairytale romances. (written by Geoff LaTulippe)

I loved the pop-culture references. I think I’ll watch Top Gun again. A roommate DJs the soundtrack of Top Gun through the bedroom wall for the initial hook-up. Who thinks of that? He (Justin Long as Garrett) works at a soulless record label and she (Drew Barrymore as Erin) is looking for writing work. Drew Barrymore tells Stylist magazine: “I’ve been in long distance relationships my whole life, so when I read the script I was relieved it was about a subject I actually relate to as opposed to the far-fetched scenarios you often find in romantic comedies.”

Trivia: Barrymore and Long are a couple in an actual on-again, off-again long distance relationship.

I believed that the characters wanted to be together. The botched phone-sex scene is hysterical.

At a press conference they said:

Justin: I also think the fiscal realities of both the characters play a large part, and it was nice to see that played out. That’s something that a lot of people, especially now, can relate to. There are so many things that you take for granted, when you enter into a long distance relationship, chief among them being the logistics of just getting from point A to B, and what is involved with that.

Drew: You want to see each other, but you can’t because of money or schedule. (

Weird, this film seemed to push the romantic-comedy envelope.

A review I related to says, “I did laugh throughout, and Justin Long and Drew Barrymore bring a real freshness and chemistry to the relationship comedy. The long distance aspect was interesting, accurate, and mined for maximum comic effect. A nice date night, a fun film with friends, Going the Distance starts our September off with a modicum of momentum.” (Seattle pi)

Good direction, acting and editing. A good date movie.

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