Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Going the Distance...or Going Nowhere?

by DionysusPsyche
“Hi, I can't commit to women.” “Nice to meet you. I really want to get this job, and I live on the other side of the United States.” “Do you want to have a relationship?” “No.” “Me neither. Let's date!” “Okay!”
What happens when two people with no chemistry go on a date? I know what you're thinking. They say good bye. The movie ends. They date other people. You rent another movie. In the movie, Going the Distance, they decide to take that concept and go the other direction with it. Don't change the dvd. Stay with me here.
Erin is in New York for a summer internship for a job that she really, really wants. Garrett meets her at a bar. They have a fling that turns into a relationship.
When it starts out, Garrett and Erin go on some dates, develop a boring contrived attachment, and decide to have a long distance relationship. Both of their friends and family try to talk them out of it in a really vulgar, disgusting sort of way. If you can get through the first half of the movie, you might like it in the end. That is a pretty big “if.”
At an early point in the movie, Erin tells Garrett “I don't remember your name,” and I thought, “I don't either.” I'm not sure why Justin Long and Drew Barrymore pretend to like each other. This is how two people who have an ongoing bet with their friends are supposed to behave in a movie. The only thing I can think of is that Justin Long's character enjoys trying to prove to his friends that he can spend time in a grown up relationship. Which apparently means having sex with your girlfriend on her sister and brother and law's table.
I watched Justin Long and felt like he was reading cue cards off Drew Barrymore's head. They're not even good lines, they're reject lines that other writers threw out.
After about halfway through, the tables turn. Erin and Garrett start becoming...actual people. And then it gets real. They get lonely. Develop jealousies. Experience communication problems. Drink too much. Become sexually frustrated. Have work or lack of work fiascoes. Somehow, Garrett and Erin get to a point in the movie where they stop fighting the distance and begin fighting with each other.
I do think parts of the movie were good. Mostly the message that long distance relationships suck. The movie excels at one thing, and that is its only strength. Its ability to demonstrate the emotional trauma about relationships where the couple involved can't be together. How it exacerbates the hardships in one's life. How eventually the couples stop complaining about the distance and start pointing fingers saying, “If you cared more, this wouldn't be happening. This is all YOUR fault.”
Going the Distance says in the title: you have to change the situation by overcoming the distance if you want to stay together. Or you have to break up. Maybe both.
The soundtrack was fantastic. Garrett's friends are funny. I enjoyed the comedian cameos. I felt relieved when the movie underwent surgery. Yet, it wasn't enough to cure the movie.
I knew the film might be terrible when the main characters announce their favorite movies. However, I ignored my instincts. “No, no, no,” I thought. “You're just being a snob. Stick this out. It'll get better.”

They love to romp idiotically into the sunset together.
I would like to say that prior to this movie, I liked Justin Long. Drew Barrymore has started making a comeback, and I've been truly impressed by her more recent movies. You can still watch this, but I would definitely recommend picking up something else. Unless you have a friend seriously considering attempting a long distance relationship, in which case you definitely should torture them with this movie. Then follow it up with The Break Up. The cards are in your favor that they will change their mind.

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