Sunday, November 28, 2010

Going the Distance DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Drew Barrymore Romantic Comedy Released on DVD

Among the fundamental elements critical to the enjoyment of a romantic comedy are an engaging plot, authentic chemistry between a couple of likable characters, and enough laughs-per-minute to make you forget that it’s all leading to a predictable “happily ever after” resolution. There are none of the above in Going the Distance, a mirthless indulgence in narcissism which fails to deliver any of the basics of the genre.
The movie marks the first foray into drama by Oscar-nominated, documentary director Nanette Burstein (On the Ropes). Unfortunately, this insipid offering, co-starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, is exactly the opposite of exceptional. The story revolves around the long-distance relationship of the equally-insufferable Erin (Barrymore), a Stanford grad student majoring in journalism, and Garrett (Long), a jaded, NYC talent scout disenchanted with his unimaginative record company which only allows him to sign bands with commercial potential.
The protagonists meet serendipitously at a trendy singles bar while she’s interning at a prestigious newspaper in Manhattan, and their mutual attraction leads to a passionate fling that remains inflamed for the duration of the summer.
However, despite a parting exchange of promises at the airport to remain faithful to each other, there’s trouble in paradise soon after Erin returns to California to complete her degree.
The phone sex just doesn’t do it after awhile, nor can they afford to take turns flying across country every weekend. Worse, Garrett becomes irrationally jealous of her hunky, Platonic pal (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), while she worries about what he might be up to hanging out with his bawdy bachelor buddies (Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day).
Still, the most frustrating conundrum facing the lovebirds is whether one will put the other’s needs first in order to be able live in the same city. For, career-oriented Erin will only move back to the Big Apple if she lands a full-time gig there. And he isn’t inclined to quit his job just to be with her either.
While such selfish attitudes might reflect the practical reality of mating habits in the 21st Century, it’s not exactly the sort of film fare apt to generate any old-fashioned chemistry. The only reason to root for a reunion of these two jerks is because they really deserve each other.

Fair (1 star)
Rated R for sexuality, profanity, crude humor, drug use and brief nudity.
Running time: 102 Minutes
Studio: New Line Home Video
Blu-Ray Extras: Director’s audio commentary, deleted scenes, music video, a “Behind-the-Scenes” and several other featurettes, and DVD and digital versions of the film.

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