Now Showing: Going the Distance
[Ladies, meet Meredith, the newest addition to the CollegeCandy team. She's a BU student, a movie buff, and an all around fantastic chicadee. She'll be our resident movie gal, giving us the ins and outs of the new releases and telling us whether or not its worth it to fork over $12 for the latest flicks.]
It has been six days since my boyfriend and I broke up. So obviously the best thing to do was watch a romantic “comedy” (I’ll explain the quotation marks in a minute). What I didn’t realize is that even a movie about falling in love could explain so much about an ended relationship.
Going the Distance is essentially Knocked Up minus the baby and the funny. Oh, and plus about 3,000 miles. Erin (Drew Barrymore) is a reporter on an internship who meets Garrett (Justin Long) six weeks before she has to return to her hometown of San Francisco. Garrett works for a record label where he is unable to give the bands he loves any big breaks. I know, a news office and a record label – now there are two places that we don’t see enough of in films today. Neither Erin nor Garrett really like the way their life is going and they make each other laugh, so naturally, they fall in love and commit to be long distance.
The mastermind behind this film clearly thought that because Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, and Christina Applegate are funny in other movies and TV shows, they would be able to somehow make the dialogue infinitely more hysterical than it actually was on paper. When they realized that wasn’t working, I guess they just decided that Judd Apatow is pretty popular, so why not have three goofy looking friends talk about masturbation while two blonde sisters (the older, anal-retentive one with a crazy family that she can’t handle and the younger one falling in love) talk about how stupid men are.
The sad part is, the characters have that true, realistic wit that your own friends might have. I also surround myself with people who are quick with their comebacks and pop culture references. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t want to make it about your friends. It wants to be something that it never could be – a popular, raunchy comedy that makes a billion dollars. If director Nanette Burstein had told the cast to go “real,” especially in the scenes where Garrett and his boys are hanging out, then Going the Distance could have been a relatable story. Instead, Long, Day, and Sudeikis ham for the camera and overdo the obvious jokes, but undersell the truly witty lines.
Looking beyond the clear problems with creativity and humor, Going the Distance has an interesting underlying theme to it. Consider the title, “Going the Distance.” Throughout the film, Erin and Garrett meet, commit to a long distance relationship, fall in love, fight, miss each other, fight some more, and then miss each other some more. The film also makes it very clear that both Erin and Garrett could have chosen a simpler life, because they both have people at their workplace who are obviously interested in them (another example of the lack of creativity…).
So, the film asks in its own way, are Erin and Garrett making the right choice? Do they love each other enough that it is worth it to “go the distance” for each other? This distance isn’t just in a physical sense; it is completely emotional. Both have clearly committed to put themselves through the emotional turmoil of missing each other, jealousy, and loneliness. This connects so well to every relationship, because even if there isn’t physical distance, there are always differences; everyone eventually has to decide whether or not it’s worth it to fight for each other and accept the inevitable problems.
I hope that you can understand my own personal epiphany without me having to explain it, but let me just say that I have been so much happier since the break up, and after reading a little too deeply into what was supposed to be a distraction from my life, I think I’m starting to better understand why it feels like a weight has been lifted.