Notable Cast: Justin Long, Drew Barrymore, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate, Jim Gaffigan
Review: Chances are many men were forced into a movie night this weekend with the recent release of yet another generic romantic comedy. This one stars the real life on-again off-again couple of Justin Long and Drew Barrymore in a story about the troubles about long distance relationships. I voluntarily saw Going The Distance, but the only hope the movie had in my eyes was a stellar supporting cast of some seriously funny character actors, so I went against my better judgment and gave the romantic genre another try. And, well, story wise I got what I expected. Love knows no boundaries, love will always prevail, never give up, yadda yadda. More fodder for the female population produced by Hollywood to hold against us men. What I didn’t expect were the raucously hilarious moments and genuine laughter that the film was able to produce. Trust me, no one was surprised more by this than me, and it led to immense enjoyment from a film is expected to be a time waster at best.
Going The Distance is a love story between the commitment shy Garrett (Long) and the late-blooming Erin (Barrymore). So of course right before Erin has to go back to school at Stanford (graduate program) they meet in a bar and realize all the problems that usually consist in their love lives are non-existent in their perfect world. So, they realize they have to stay together despite the distance and life will just work itself out to fit their relationship. Well, guess what, it doesn’t. The couple find out it may take much longer to put their final plan in motion to bring themselves together. With their emotions in check and reality setting in, it’s up to our lovers to beat the odds stacked against them and prove true love will always conquer.
When rating romantic comedies, I find the biggest problem being how believable the actions are. Taking a girl out to dinner, going dancing, going on a picnic; these are all things that happen in real life. Stopping a Yankee game to bring your girlfriend on the pitcher’s mound while Derek Jeter presents her with the ring and you propose as hundreds of doves are released from both dugouts and the organist plays her favorite song; things that will NEVER happen unless you’re Donald freakin’ Trump. Movies just take things too far sometimes and yeah, I get that’s why you watch the movie in the first place, to escape reality, but if something so ridiculous happens on-screen it’s impossible to emotionally invest yourself in a love story. That said, well, Going The Distance wasn’t that bad. Garrett and Erin seemed a lot like a genuine people and did what they could just to get by. Dare I say a realistic couple was accurately portrayed in a movie? Not totally, but they got pretty close! And even when Garrett did seem like Super Boyfriend at parts, other characters laced into him for that exact reason. Jim Gaffigan and Rob Riggle have a hilarious exchange with Long about how he’s making everyone else look bad. But a lot of the problems were addressed well here, for example visiting a loved one as much as you’d like versus how much money you have. Instead of being that fantastical movie where the couple somehow can visit each other every week, Garrett and Erin often have to turn down weekend visits because of outrages travel prices. Sure, it has all your required gag-tastic scenes, but honestly it wasn’t over done and I didn’t hate it as I do other examples from this genre. That’s got to count for something, right?
The movie’s real saving grace doesn’t come from either Barrymore or Long though. It comes more from the fantastic supporting cast that supplies some serious laugh out loud moments for your enjoyment. And finally we get more of what all It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia fans have always wanted; more Charlie Day. Charlie plays Garrett’s brother/roommate Dan and is a no-doubt screen stealer every single time he appears. Charlie showed he can hold his own on the big screen as well as the small one. Charlie Day has fantastic comedic timing and his high-pitched delivery makes his lines infinitely funnier; aside from him being the perfect mix of funny and insane. Again, watch It’s Always Sunny if you don’t believe me. But he’s not the only great comedic talent here. Sudeikis, Applegate, Gaffigan, and Riggle all have their own moments, as well as a Mike Birbiglia cameo as a waiter. They do what a good supporting cast does, takes a funny situation and amps it up to a whole new level of comedy. All of these actors were able to transform this romantic comedy into a comedic movie based on a relationship between two lovers. But the problem was it couldn’t last forever. At a point the film put the comedy on a back burner to further the emotional story-line between Garrett and Erin, and all I could think about was hearing another one of Dan’s nonsensical conversations about the absence of baby pigeons in New York City.
Don’t be afraid of Going The Distance, especially if you’re of the male gender. This is one of the rare times the laughs will be worth all the ooey-gooey romance. Justin Long and Drew Barrymore have a few funny out of character moments, but besides that their relationship goes through the expected trials and tribulations that come along with a long distance relationship. Thankfully, they are friends with a hilarious array of characters that never let you down. I guarantee big laughs, especially from Charlie Day, that will make this film far more memorable than it should be. If you’ve ever been in a long distance relationship, this movie might even hit close to home with some of the struggles Long and Barrymore go through. But in the end, for a romantic comedy to make me laugh this much it had to at least do a few things right. And Going The Distance had me crying laughing at points so screw it, I can happily admit this is one romantic comedy worth going to see after flying by my expectations.
Final Rating: 7 hilariously awkward tanning incidents out of 10