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Going The Distance
UKScreen Rating:

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Garrett (Justin Long) is a hip young exec at a small Manhattan record label. He’s a bit of a loser in love and as we meet him, he’s getting dumped for believing a girlfriend who told him he didn’t need to get her a birthday present. Girls, eh!
While drowning his sorrows with his wild and crazy best friends Dan (Charlie Day) and Box – even the name is crazy – (Jason Sudeikis), he gets chatting to a cool arcade game champion Erin (Drew Barrymore) who’s interning at the New York Times as a journalist.
The pair hit it off and it looks like Garrett has found himself a new girlfriend within hours of losing the last one. But hang on – Erin’s internship is about to finish – and she’ll be heading home to – gulp – San Francisco to finish her studies.
Can they keep their relationship going two and a half thousand miles, three time-zones and three months apart?
What do you think? Here’s your clue: it’s a romantic comedy.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

The plot will ring bells for many people living in big cities, where visitors usually come and go without incident but sometimes pick up ties on their way.
You have to feel for anyone who falls for someone who lives in another city, and anyone who’s been there will recognise much of what Erin and Garrett go through – constant texting, late night phone-calls, painful periods where they can’t see each other. These give rise to moments which are by turns dramatic and comedic.
But all of this is rather obvious and unoriginal, so can the story and characters win you over?
The characters aren’t really that interesting – and we don’t really feel much chemistry between them, which is odd, since they’re known as a real-life on-off couple. The supporting characters on both coasts are so arch as to make you squirm with frustration almost every time they’re on screen; drinking beer while on the toilet with the door open is neither charming nor funny.
There is also very little drama – and almost no tension. For anyone who’s entertaining the idea of a relationship with someone they’ve only recently met, who’s now many miles away, there are questions of commitment; one of them is indeed propositioned, but there’s not even a flicker of a suggestion that anything might happen.
The closest we get to any drama is the odd random obstacle thrown at the couple to raise and quell doubts and give us a bit of on-and-off and there are some unbelievable plot points, such as surprise transcontinental visits and an encounter with airport security that’s so removed from reality that you’ll want to go the distance and get far away from the cinema.
It’s rather childish, twee, cute, irritating, laughable (rather than funny), warm-hearted and ultimately harmless, in equal measure.

Opens nationwide on 10th September 2010

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