Movie Review: Finally -- a Rom-Com that Works!

Going the Distance

It was just two weeks ago (here) that I complained that no one seemed to be able to make an enjoyable romantic comedy. Well, Going the Distance sure proves that it is possible. On-and-off real life couple Drew Barrymore and Justin Long star as thirty-something New Yorkers Erin and Garret -- who meet in a bar and hit it off immediately. But after one must move to California, can the two maintain a long-distance relationship? In this troubled economy, is there even a chance that they can eventually find career-defining work in the same city?

Barrymore (Everybody's Fine, Whip It) and Long (Youth in Revolt) obviously bring great chemistry to the screen -- and both their comic and serious scenes are believable. Helping the believability factor is the stronger MPAA rating. So many rom-coms seem watered-down by their PG-13 rating. Here, Garret's buddies -- played by TV's Jason Sudeikes (Saturday Night Live) and Charlie Day (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) -- deliver plenty of adult laughs. So yeah, you'll hear some four-letter words and some minor raunchy humor. But that's real life. And ultimately, the film appeals to the male audience as well as the female crowd -- making for a great date movie.

Directed by Nanette Burstein, who is known for her documentaries such as American Teen and The Kid Stays in the Picture. It definitely could explain why this rom-com rings more honest and realistic than most. She manages to capture both the lively spirit of the Big Apple as well as the characters. Also stars Christina Applegate, Jim Gaffigan and Ron Livingston (Dinner for Schmucks). It's funny, it's surprisingly sweet and it's worth a night out to see. [Rated R; opens today]

Grade: B


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