It’s classified as a romantic comedy – and I guess the film is more that than anything else if we have to stick with labels – but maybe it’s because Nanette Burstein (American Teen) is known mostly for her documentary work that Going The Distance has more of an edge and a feeling of emotional realism than most genre pictures.
Maybe that’s why what was supposed to be a frothy, predictable romance has made me a little sad for two days after seeing it. I wasn’t supposed to react this way to Going The Distance, was I? But, I have and can’t stop thinking about certain questions.
When isn’t love enough? It’s not enough when two people in love are separated by a continent and the bad economy (not to mention individual dreams) makes relocating too big of a compromise. Yikes!
Sure, Drew Barrymore (loved her in Fever Pitch) seems a little old to play this role, but Justin Long has so much appeal, that I kept putting myself back into the film every time I stopped to think that they didn’t quite fit.
But I do have to wonder why wasn’t her character wasn’t written as 35 (instead of 31) and derailed by more than one failed love affair (to explain the gaps). That I would have bought without question.
Why? Because I cared about them as a couple. I was rooting for Erin and Garrett from the beginning.
The screenplay is a first credit for Geoff La Tulippe, and the first half feels like a cross between a conventional romantic comedy and a Judd Apatow movie (gross guy stuff for Garrett and his two buddies, sure, but with the hint of a sensitive side for each of the trio). The second half is something else entirely. This couple really struggles because of circumstances that seem so…contemporary…and…so real.
I’m ambivalent about the movie overall, but it’s certainly a cut above conventional romantic comedies that are utterly predictable and unbelievably pat. Something about this film hits me on a personal level. I’m still rooting for Erin and Garrett, and I’m still rooting for true love.