Whatever happened to the good old romantic comedy? I ask that question because there seems to be a total lack of decent ones coming out of Hollywood over recent years. Apart from the odd gem such as The Proposal or (500) Days Of Summer, it seems to be back to back intolerable rubbish (The Ugly Truth, I am looking at you), so it was with trepidation that I went off to watch the latest rom-com offering, Going The Distance, starring real life couple Drew Barrymore and Justin Long.
After splitting up with his latest girlfriend, Garrett (Long) meets Erin (Barrymore) in a bar in New York. The two hit it off, but there is one snag. Erin is moving back to San Francisco in six weeks time. Undaunted by the expatriation date, the two begin to date and, you guessed it, fall in love. Cue the start of a long distance relationship and whole will their relationship survive or not conundrum. After watching this film, however, the only question I really had was how is Drew Barrymore’s career going to bounce back from this turkey.
Going The Distance is a film that finds itself with a huge identity crisis. On the one hand, it does try and go down the road of the aforementioned (500) Days Of Summer and be an indie darling of a movie, making references that only the cool kids would get, while on the other, it is trying to be a crude comedy that would more readily be associated with the outings of Judd Apatow, and the mixture really doesn’t work.
Somewhere along the line a decision needed to be made and, instead, what you end up with is a giant mess of a picture that needs some serious help in figuring out what it is.
This isn’t really helped by the clumsy script, which is badly paced and doesn’t really capture why these two people have fallen for each other in the first place, and thus, makes you not really care if they end up together or not, which is exacerbated with the lack of chemistry the two leads have with each other.
I’m not sure if there is some sort of curse when it comes to these things, but it seems that, as soon as your put a real life couple onto the big screen, they come across as wooden, unappealing and totally wrong for each other. And, although it isn’t as extreme as that in this case, there is a real lack of chemistry between the two and, should another Hollywood couple feel the need to star together, this movie should be mandatory viewing to put them right off the idea.
It isn’t all bad news, however, and although the script and leads are a bit of a dud, the supporting cast is actually pretty good, with Christina Applegate playing the older, wiser sister of Erin down to a tea and Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis adding much needed comedic support as Garrett’s two best friends.
Overall, Going The Distance barely manages to make it over the finishing line and will soon be forgotten under the tail end of the summer season’s releases.