Going the Distance: An Unbelievable Chick Flick? Yes. A Raunchy Comedy? Yes.

By Megan Lane · September 6, 2010

You know you’ve done it:  fallen for that person and thought that we cannot possibly be with anyone else.  All your friends tell you that long distance is a horrible idea, but you know your relationship will be different.  They might have horror stories, but you’re really in love.  

That is the basic premise of Going the Distance.  When Garrett (Justin Long) meets Erin (Drew Barrymore), the two fall hard and fast, but are forced into a long distance relationship when Erin has to go back to school across the country.  The long distance is straining to their otherwise perfect relationship and worsens when Erin is unable to find a job back in New York.
The script itself is really well-written.  Geoff LaTulippe definitely gave a wittier and raunchier dialogue than is normally seen in a romantic comedy.  There were several moments where I was doubled over with laughter.  It is really the secondary characters that make the movie.  Christina Applegate and Jim Gaffigan play Erin’s sister and brother-in-law while Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day portray Garrett’s best friend and roommate.  As expected, these actors bring the script to life with their brilliant delivery.  Most notably, in his first major feature film, Charlie Day holds his own and has the audience in stitches whenever he’s on screen.  His part was clearly written for him (he really was just “Charlie” from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, but who can complain about that?) and I am greatly looking forward to seeing him and Jason Sudeikis in Horrible Bosses next year.
However, Tulippe’s two main characters are relatively unimagined.  Justin Long plays the ideal boyfriend in Garrett.  He chases Erin through the airport, he surprises her at work, he drops the “L” bomb, and in the end he tells her that she cannot give up her dream job for him and lets her go.  Drew Barrymore, on the other hand is the girl every boy wants.  She doesn’t mind his roommates, she rocks at Centipede, and she is down for sex pretty much anytime.  She’s basically a dude with boobs, which we all know is everyman’s dream.  It’s no wonder these two were willing to do long distance; they each found the perfect partner and neither has any flaws.     
Still, the raunchy dialogue and supporting characters make it a rom-com that both men and women can enjoy together.  The main characters can be perfect because just like in a real long distance relationship, the barrier preventing them from being together is physical, not emotional.  However, the major problem in this movie lies in the ending.  Warning, there be spoilers ahead, but I cannot accurately criticize without telling you what went down from the second act break to the end of the movie.
Erin and Garrett break up when neither of them can relocate to the other’s city.  Six months go by and Erin moves up the ranks at the San Francisco Globe.  One day, she gets a package from Garrett giving her two tickets to a concert.  When she arrives, Garrett is there waiting for her, telling her that he managed to relocate to Los Angeles.  They may not be able to be in the same city, but at least they are in the same time zone and only an hour plane ride away.  The two decide to give their relationship another chance.
This ending is stupid for two reasons, both of which I will explain right now.
First of all, they are still long distance so the problem is not solved.  When I was in a long distance relationship, my boyfriend was in the military and went through six different time zones throughout the duration of our relationship.  Albeit it was much easier when we were in the same time zone, but the distance was still a major problem and clearly the relationship did not last.  While I applaud LaTulippe for not taking the easy way out and having a job magically pop up in the end, the movie puts us right back where we started with two people that we want to see together in a long distance relationship.
Secondly, Erin and Garrett were together for six weeks before she moved away.  Garrett and Erin constantly say they are each other’s best friend and have to find a way to be together.  They are best friends after six weeks?  Clearly neither one of them has very many friends.  And how could you say Drew Barrymore is your best friend when Charlie Day is an option?  They tried distance for about seven months before breaking up and saw each other three times during that period.  Then, they were apart for six months before Garrett relocated.  They were actually apart almost as long as they were together.  No matter how perfect they might be, does a six week relationship really justify a complete life change?
In the end, Going the Distance was actually very much like being in a long distance relationship:  at first it’s easy and fun, but leaves you knowing there was no possible way it was going to work out.
30,000 out of 40,000 Airline Miles