Better then Leap Year. Something every film has the right to put on its poster.
There's something but reassuring and uninspiring about Going The Distance. Its a boring, run-of-the-mill movie caught between the Apatowian Juvenilia and the more traditional romantic comedy. An uneasy marriage of gross-out humor and sincere romanticism, its not a success by any usual method of definition. But its the first romantic comedy in 2010 that's not made me want to pull my brain out through my face, without even cutting a clear pathway. And that's something to celebrate. Its a torrid state of affairs for a genre when you rejoice at the return of the mediocre, but boy is the mediocre welcome right now.
On the face of it the film has a very talented cast, which is always the key to making these things work. Drew Barrymore, is a romantic comedy veteran with probably at least 7 on her CV at this point, most of which featuring her on cutesy, whimsical autopilot. Which ain't all that bad of a thing, she has an intrinsic likability that suits this kind of material, and while I wouldn't call her the greatest actress that ever lived, she has charm enough to compensate. She spreads her wings ever so slightly here, reveling in the swearing and adult material and keeping the cutesiness to a minimum. Justin Long is an actor I like a lot, mostly for his 5 minute turn in a film I otherwise didn't like Zack And Miri Make A Porno, but also because there aren't enough sarcastic leading men in the world, and Long has a gift for doing that very well. So even with lesser material, as he has here, he makes a unique impression. The movie probably belongs to Jason Sudeikis and Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia's Charlie Day, fulfilling your standard sounding-board best friend roles who both are funny enough to make these slightly more distinctive then usual. Particularly Day, who is one of those actors that everything he does is hilarious, deliberate or otherwise.
But at the end of the day the material is so bland, the jokes so familiar and the vernacular too often spoken that it simply can't sustain any attempt at being anything more then OK. It's a passable movie, simply directed by Nanette Burnstein and featuring one or two funny and one or two touching moments, but its neither funny or touching enough to succeed in any specific capacity. But a cautious step in the right direction for this eternally fucked over genre. A film you'll see on ITV2 at 2AM in 2014, and decide it marginally preferable to watching all night quizstation.