Going the Distance Nanette Burstein

Going the Distance Nanette Burstein
So, director Nanette Bernstein has a background in making documentaries, most notably the Robert Evans story, The Kid Stays in the Picture, and the humdrum American Teen. Some might argue that this gives Drew Barrymore's 2010 rom-com entry a bit of an edge, or some added zeal, forgetting that respectable documentarian Joe Berliner was the one that made the Blair Witch sequel, Book of Shadows.

But, really, all it means is that the same old stale bonding moments and occasional joke about angry masturbation or moustache innuendo are shot with a handheld camera for no particular reason.

Garrett (Justin Long) is a bland, boyish, frustrated record label employee that meets the woman of his dreams, Erin (Barrymore), at a bar after getting dumped by his girlfriend. Thing is, she's only in New York as a journalism intern and has to head back to San Francisco to finish up her degree, giving the oh-so-clever title its kick while these lovers try to make it work via Skype, sharing YouTube videos and bonding over the dullest, most tired character-defining signifiers possible. It's not a great deal more complex than "You like The Shawshank Redemption? Oh my God, me too! We should totally have, like, 10,000 babies together."

To be fair, the "distance" theme of the film works moderately well, with topical hiccups, such as the financial crisis, getting in the way of these video conferencing lovers. It's just that Long and Barrymore don't work very well together despite being a real life couple, and almost half of the movie is dedicated to incredibly strained sex and toilet humour. That's fine, really, but it doesn't fit the film, nor should it endear it to the kind of people that would pay for a movie like this.

On the other hand, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe boring people defined by their likes are more appealing than I thought. Maybe people out for a tender romantic film want to hear Drew Barrymore yell, "Suck my dick," especially considering how well last summer's similarly crude The Ugly Truth fared critically and commercially.

Who knows, maybe sitting and watching someone slop together every predictable plot line and genre cliché possible is appealing in a way I can't conceive of. But I doubt it. (Warner)