Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Going the Distance

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for sexual content including dialogue, language throughout, some drug use and brief nudity
Profanity:Very strong and explicit language
Nudity/Sex:Very explicit sexual references and crude banter, non-explict sexual situation
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, smoking, drug use
Violence/Scariness:Comic peril
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:September 3, 2010
DVD Release Date:October 26, 2010

Even in the era of Skype and Foursquare, it is hard to stay connected when one half of a couple is in New York and the other half is in California. Erin (Drew Barrymore) and Garrett (real-life on-and-off beau Justin Long) meet just as she is finishing up a newspaper internship in New York and getting ready to go back to California to finish school. They immediately bond over the Centipede arcade game and playing trivia. Within hours of meeting they have a tipsy but tender sexual encounter (to the strains of the “Top Gun” soundtrack). They like each other. And just as they discover how much, she has to go back home.
So what comes next is the kind of old-fashioned courtship people used to have before they went to bed together, in the days when people did not take their clothes off until they decided they probably loved each other first. The essential sunny sweetness Barrymore brings to the role and the almost-quaintness of the way they try to stay close when they are far provide a tender grounding to the chaos around the couple caused by economic conditions in both of their fields (he works for a record label) and the usual gang of quirky friends and relatives who exist to populate romantic comedies. I believe they have evolved from the classical Greek chorus as a device for exposition and making the main characters seem normal by comparison and also lovably tolerant.
Here the surrounding group is top-notch, with Christina Applegate, who is superb as Erin’s tightly wound but affectionate sister and Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis as Garrett’s clueless but affectionate guy-buddies. The raunchy humor is delivered in a matter-of-fact way that can be very funny and true to the honest spirit of the characters and the pressures of the economy are lightly but effectively conveyed. The best news about the script is that it avoids the usual rom-com staples of misunderstandings and incompetence. Director Nanette Burstein and her movie trust us and trust its characters as it allows them to learn to trust each other.


Parents should know that this movie has extremely explicit sexual banter and humor with constant strong and crude language and comic and serious sexual references and situations with brief nudity. A character is shown on the toilet. Characters drink, including drinking to deal with stress and getting drunk; they also smoke, and use drugs.
Family discussion: What is the hardest part about maintaining a long-distance relationship? What was the most important thing keeping Erin and Garrett together? How did their friends and Erin’s sister help and how did they make it more difficult?
If you like this, try: “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Boys on the Side”



  • Tom Clocker – Baltimore Movie Examiner

    Nell,
    Good stuff…as usual.
    Although I liked the fact that this did not fall into the rom-com traps (like you mentioned), I felt the movie couldn’t make up it’s mind which type of film it wanted to be: raunchy rated R comedy, or standard sweet romantic comedy. As a result I felt it was a bit sporadic, jumping back and forth, rather than blending the genres together.
    I did think the performances were very good and this was quite funny, but trying to reinvent the romantic comedy just didn’t work out they way they had hoped. Still, like the idea…we’ll see if someone can do it better.
    Worth seeing, my recommendation: rental.
    http://www.examiner.com/movie-in-baltimore/movie-review-gong-the-distance-6-25-out-of-10

  • Mike

    I am glad the DC critics are getting this movie right. It was hiliarious to read the reviews on RT from Australia, NY, LA, SF, and who knows where else in the weeks leading up to opening day today. One critic right off the bat said rom-com isn’t her cup of tea. If so, why are you reviewing it?
    I can’t stand Drew Barrymore as I feel she has ruined several movies going back at least 10 years. I didn’t see “Whip It” but the last few movies she has been in I have liked, so maybe she is getting off my “list”.
    This movie works for two reasons, the casting, and that it is realistic. The funny parts hit in the right spots as well.
    Good write up, Nell.

  • Mark

    The only value that this movie provides is showing how hard it is to be in a long distance relantionship. The acting is good but the dialog between the characters was not original or funny. Parents should be beware that explicit sexual banter in this review includes phone sex and other sexual references. I have seen many movies with sexual banter but the phone sex scene was disgusting and not something that I would want to see with my adult daughter or another couple. The dry humping scene between the sister and her husband was also in poor taste. I only wish that they would have made this a romantic comedy because they could have focused on giving the cast better dialog and story line.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Mark! As I note in my review, this is a very raunchy movie, I suppose to appeal to the contemporaries of its characters.

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