At The Movies 09.10.10
This is Ron Salfen, “At The
Movies,” and here’s my commentary on a film opening this week at The
Majestic Theater in
Yes, “Going The Distance” is both scatological and funny.
If you don’t like the raunchy humor, don’t go see it.
But it’s both a sensitive and hilarious treatment of a subject that
has affected a lot of people: long-distance
We started telling our stories about long-distance relationships even
before we went to this film. Everybody
who’s done this has vivid memoires of their experience.
And what are the chances of everything actually working out in the
end? Well, perhaps that depends
on just how much of a romantic you really are.
Justin Long plays Garrett, a 30-something guy who lives with a
roommate, Dan (Charlie Day) in New York City, working for a small record
label, but frustrated that he winds up promoting “kid pop” groups rather
than the music he really enjoys. His
other best buddy, besides Dan, is Box (Jason Sudeikis), and they don’t
mind at all discussing the details of each other’s dating lives.
It seems they’re sort of stuck in a post-adolescent serial-newbie
phase. Garrett’s latest
failure involves the miscommunication about a birthday present:
she told him she didn’t need one, he takes her at her word, but
wait, there was a hidden message there:
she was really telling him it wasn’t about the gift, but he was
supposed to understand that he now should buy her something after he’d had
permission not to, just to demonstrate his commitment to her…..ah, never
mind. It’s funnier as a
comedy skit. And they do that
really well in this fresh take on post-modern relationships.
Garrett meets Erin (Drew Barrymore) while trying to cut in front of
her at a video game at a bar. They
don’t begin well. But they
soon discover they have much in common (starting with liking the same video
game). They enjoy each
other’s company that evening, and jump into bed happily.
But the next morning, as she’s quietly gathering her clothes and
trying to tiptoe out the door (this is the new how-do-you-do?), they
actually have a real conversation, go to breakfast, and confess to each
other that they aren’t really ready to begin an actual relationship right
now. He’s just rebounding,
she’s a newspaper intern who’s only in town for the summer, and then she
returns to grad school at Stanford (she explains that her “life
schedule” got delayed by chasing a previous relationship that didn’t
work out). So now, free to not
have to worry about the “c” word (commitment), they have a fantastic
time together---relaxed and easygoing and fun.
And when the summer is over, they find themselves doing exactly what
they said they weren’t going to do: wanting
to talk about how they are going to maintain this unexpected long-distance
They text each other (the texting appears on the screen, like a
subtitle, which is an interesting way to deal with a very common form of
communication). They talk on
the phone late at night (including one botched attempt at phone sex).
They “act out” with co-workers and friends their frustration over
missing each other constantly.
lives with her sister, Corinne (Christina Applegate, also a veteran of
television comedy), and her husband and daughter, and they accidentally get
an eyeful when Garrett arrives for a surprise visit (another clever use of
embarrassment humor). But
several months pass, and here they are:
across the country from each other, and traveling is very expensive.
Erin receives a really good job offer at the San Francisco Chronicle,
her dream job, really, in an industry that’s constantly re-trenching, and
now she has to decide whether to accept it or just pack up and move back to
New York City
and wait tables again. He’s
looked for work on the West Coast, but can’t find any in his field,
either. So, what do they do?
Forget it? One of them
sacrifices a meaningful career so they can be together?
And if that happens, how long before the resentment sets in?
This is just really difficult.
Justin Long and Drew Barrymore are very believable in the romancing
part (rumors are that life imitates art).
Humor abounds, but it’s a serious situation:
one that will invoke plenty of memories, both good and bad, in a lot
This is Ron Salfen, “At the
Movies,” for 93.5 KICK-FM