Going the distance

Last Updated: March 23, 2012By Tags: , ,

Jennifer Aniston has prevented me from saying this, but, I just saw a delightfully funny and endearing romantic comedy.

Drew Barrymore is Erin, a New York newspaper intern who meets Garrett (Justin Long), a record label employee. The two hit it off, spend six great weeks together, then the end of Erin’s internship sends her back to San Francisco. Rather than break up, they keep the long-distance romance alive thanks to skyping, calling, occasionally visiting, and disastrous phone sex.

Barrymore and Long have obvious comfort with one another in their own little cute/jokey/fun way, but thanks to writer Geoff Latulippe they also have more personality than your average romantic comedy. They talk about favorite foods and movies (Top Gun, and Long also does a nice “Morgan Freeman” during a conversation about Shawshank Redemption), have video game etiquette, smoke weed, drink beer, curse, eat chicken wings. The real charm is that they seem like young adults, right on the brink of maturity but not quite there yet.

As the economic situation threatens their ability to work in the same place, they become even more relatable and their struggle, played with sincerity but funny enough to keep from being heavy-handed, surprisingly even moved me. Another thing I like was that the cruder laughs are kept mostly between the main characters and the supporting characters (played by Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis as Garrett’s best friends, and Christinia Applegate and comic Jim Gaffigan as Erin’s relatives).

They have those types of intimate conversations about masturbation and dry-humping that you could really only talk about with a close buddy. There are also some really funny lines and a running mustache gag. “Distance” doesn’t stray too far from the usual romantic comedy but it eliminates a lot of the sappiness, stupidity, and misunderstandings and keeps the focus on two authentic, engaging people. The result is a movie that really leaves you feeling good when you walk out of the theater.

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