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September 20, 2010 | by  | in Film |
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Going The Distance

Going The Distance
Director: Nanette Burstein

Going the Distance is Nanette Burstein’s first film that isn’t an award-winning documentary of some description. Perhaps peculiarly, it’s a rom-com starring Drew Barrymore and her real life man-friend Justin Long (the Mac from the Mac vs PC adverts). Going the Distance has Barrymore and Long accidentally starting a long-distance relationship, then it falls apart because long distance relationships suck, but then they get together in the end. Barrymore (who is awesome) and Long have great chemistry and there are a fair number of comic turns, with Christina Applegate and Jim Gaffigan getting some excellent scenes, but there ultimately isn’t much that is remarkable plot-wise.

While the film often stays within the safe confines of the genre, a combination of the artistic predilections of Burstein, Barrymore and Mormon producers Jared and Jerusha Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) has resulted in the insertion of some (occasionally stilted) serious indie vibes and honest-to-god comedy that finds its roots in the characters, rather than the situations. Burstein obviously used her years of intimate study of people and the way they tick to humanise her characters, with the only complete cliché being Christina Applegate’s neurotic housewife. The rest of the characters were, thankfully, ramshackle constructions played with a dash of integrity, just like real life. Sadly though, all of this is still within the genre, and that genre eats up the running time like your nana eats hard candy; as a result, much of this excellent work stays in the background.

The work being hidden is the problem with Going the Distance. It’s a perfectably acceptable date film; unlike recent rom-coms Bride Wars, The Back-Up Plan, or The Ugly Truth, it doesn’t suck. It’s just not good enough for someone like Burstein. She’s got the talent, a unique eye and a pedigree history. She’s the A student that seems to have stopped trying this semester. I hope she’ll do better next time.


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Nic Sando is a god amongst men, fifteen fathoms high he be, with strange and wyrd powers at his disposal. Only a fool won't harken his ears to the east when he hears The Sando man stumping his way.

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