Love is hard enough as it is. You have to do the whole getting along thing, make it work, and stay happy. You also have to, often at times, give your significant other breathing room. There is another type of relationship that a lot of people explore knowing the tough road that lay before them: that’s the “long distance relationship.” Statewide or cross-country, you’ll be seeing your lover every couple of weeks… if that. This is the main topic of Nanete Burstein’s GOING THE DISTANCE. Going in, this easy looks like a snooze rom-com, but she has so much more in store for us adults.
Simple plot: Garrett (Justin Long) just got dumped because he didn’t remember to buy his girlfriend an anniversary gift. Good luck resides with him as he goes to the local bar with his roommate and buddy (the very, very funny Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) to drown his sadness with a little bit of booze. While there, he meets Erin (Drew Barrymore), who’s currently ranking the top score in an arcade game on which he’s been desperately trying to maintain his reign as king. This sparks bar conversation, and eventually the talk is moved to Garrett’s bedroom, which comes with a Tom Cruise TOP GUN poster and soundtrack on repeat, courtesy of his supportive roommate. The next day the the pair chat and she tells him she’s moving in six weeks, so they can’t get serious. Well, things don’t always work out as we plan them and they end up getting serious. She moves and they’re now in a possibly doomed long distance relationship. This is where “is this even worth it?” is put to the test.
To help my readers better understand what type of comedy this is, think this: GOING THE DISTANCE is going to do for adults what AMERICAN PIE did for sex driven teenagers. This movie is very raw on how adults speak and act when it comes to sex. Sex isn’t often perfect, sometimes you get caught on your sisters dining room table while her husband eats a sandwhich and watches. These are facts in life. Director Burstein ain’t no stranger to the awkward romance category either, as she directed the 2008 documentary, AMERICAN TEEN. She knows what her audience needs to see in romance: love is funny, love is awesome and, at times, love is very painful.
The casting is what sells the movie for most. Everyone in this is no stranger to comedy: Drew Barrymore (NEVER BEEN KISSED), Justin Long (ACCEPTED), Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Phildelphia), Jason Sudeikis (SNL and 30 Rock), Christina Applegate (THE SWEETEST THING), and Jim Gaffigan (very funny comedian). Pairing Day and Sudeikis as Long’s Garrett’s best friends was a bright decision. These two gents keep the banter strong while talking about what every male in their late 20s talk about: sex, sex, money, sex, sex, video games, sex, sex. Barrymore and Applegate bring on the girl power, and there are a few lines that come out of Barrymore’s mouth that would give the Pope a heart attack. These girls hold nothing back when talking about sex and things they want under the sheets.
GOING THE DISTANCE isn’t your average rom-com; it’s very, very dirty and unapologetically crude. If you’ve ever had an awkward sexual moment in your life (admit it, you have), this is the movie for you. If you’ve ever wanted to give long distance love a shot, this is for you. If you’ve ever believed there can’t be love without the comedy, this is the movie for you.