Review: Laughs, Fun and Cliches Abound in “Going the Distance”

"Going the Distance" stars Drew Barrymore and Justin Long as Erin and Garret, a couple of crazy kids who meet one night in New York City, have what they think is the one-night-stand of a lifetime only to find they really, really care about other. But she's going back to Stanford in the fall -- how will they ever make this work?!?!?!

The film hums along nicely as we're introduced to our two love birds, and they in turn to each other. It turns out that not only is Barrymore a fox, she's a championship-caliber video gamer, loves beer and bong hits and thinks it's cool that Long's roommate is "DJing their hook-up" from the next room. She is, in short, the perfect woman.

But just when you think that maybe, just maybe you're safe, it happens -- the dreaded romantic musical montage" strikes. We watch in terror as the two frolic on the beach at Coney Island while Katrina and The Waves' "Walking on Sunshine" plays. Remember "Naked Gun?" Remember when Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley prance about to the sounds of Herman's Hermits singing "Something Tells Me I'm Into Something Good"? How was that brilliant scene not the kill-shot needed to put that cliche down once and for all? Director Nanette Burstein ("The Kid Stays in the Picture," which is a classic) should know better.

Barrymore is a known quantity with no real surprises to bring to proceedings of this variety. It's Drew Barrymore, she's done this a million times and fortunately she's not as shrill or sad as most of the women who populate these films. As for Long, he's done some good work in "Galaxy Quest" and "Live Free or Die Hard," and may yet have a decent career ahead of him. Did he stick with the whole "I'm a Mac" thing for too long? Probably, but if you're going to backlash against him, you have to backlash against John Hodgman, and you cannot do that.

OK, yes, it's a romcom, and it's got a lot of the pitfalls of the genre that make you hate them. But this one possesses two secret weapons that help make it, if not exactly great, imminently watchable: Jason Sudekis and Charlie Day. The pair play Long's co-worker and roommate, respectively, and bring a brand of humor and crassness that helps take the saccharine-y sheen off what might otherwise be pure misery.

"Going the Distance" is far funnier and easier to take than most films of its kind, if it's your romcom-loving significant other's week to pick the flick, and s/he drops this one on you, count your blessings that Katherine Heigl doesn't have a movie out this week.

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