After a recent resurge in successful and critically well received romantic comedies such as (500) days of summer and the brilliant 'Bromance', I Love you man, I was less sceptical about Going the distance than I would have been two years previously, hoping that Nanette Burstein's directorial debut would continue the trend with a fresh, original take on the genre that would be equally entertaining for both sexes.
Going the Distance is not quite as good as the aforementioned films but still remains fairly enjoyable, despite being overcrowded with cliches and featuring the obligatory story arc that fans of romantic comedies will find all too familiar. Soppy love scenes aside, there were a number of humorous moments that prompted howls of laughter from a number of audience members and even brought a wry smile to my face, which is an impressive feat for any Rom-com.
Drew Barrymore is Erin, a lonely journalist who encounters Garret (Justin Long), a talent scout for a record company, on the night he is drowning his sorrows after splitting up with his girlfriend. A few drinks later, the singletons find themselves in bed together, with Erin unperturbed by the thin walls separating Garret from his room-mate, despite his attempts to find the perfect soundtrack to accompany their evening, in one of the films more inspired moments. Fast forward six weeks and Erin is due to head back to Los Angeles, putting their relationship in jeopardy, and testing their powers of resistance to the limit.
Whilst the storyline is far from original, the characters and situations feel fresh, with the actors making the most of their roles and breathing life to an otherwise run of the mill story. The pairing of Justin Long and Drew Barrymore was an inspired decision, their on screen chemistry transforms Going the distance into a believable romance, with a supporting cast that enhances their performances by providing the majority of the humour.
Although nowhere near as iconic as the famous scene in When Harry Met Sally, Going the Distance ups the ante with a number of risqué moments guaranteed to offend the more reserved members of the audience. Presumably, this is a clever ploy to make the film appeal to fans of comedies such as Superbad and The Hangover, which are both well known for their vulgar but hilarious comedy. The solid mix of romance and comedy proves that when combined with panache, the genres can be perfectly matched, enhancing a films appeal by providing interests for different crowds and broadening the target audience.
Going the Distance is far from groundbreaking but is still a welcome entry to a genre that often sells utterly dire films purely on the inclusion of crowd-drawing big name actors. It definitely surpassed my expectations and is worth a look if you get the chance, fans of romcoms would do well to check this out.
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(500) Days Of Summer