Thursday, September 02, 2010

Going the Distance

What the *

The draw of Going the Distance will undoubtedly be its leading stars of Justin Long and Drew Barrymore, being an on-off-on real life couple and the premise of a long distance relationship will likely not be lost on these two. I'm not sure how many of you will subscribe to or are currently in a relationship where the distance put between you and your loved one means a meet up only once in a few months, whether that initial affection felt will be sufficient to sustain a commitment after the novelty wears off.

And in this film, Geoff LaTulippe's story outlines most of the immediate pitfalls and concerns about long distance relationships that it'll likely scare you off from one anyhow. The perils here translate to not being able to enjoy what other couples in a "normal" relationship do, having to rely on technology to bridge that distance, and the raking up of phone bills to engage in decent conversation, or something kinkier. Then there's the fear of someone else cheating on you, since you're out of sight hence out of mind. I suppose love requires nurturing, and without being able to do so on a fairly constant basis, means an extraordinary amount of effort to make things work.

But that's only the first part. See, I told you Going the Distance casts doubts despite its comedy at the right places to lift the film from its doom and gloom, nevermind if director Nanette Burstein manages to hook you in and convince you to root for the leads Erin (Barrymore) a soon to graduate journalist intern, and Garrett (Long) the record label employee told to babysit and promote some young kids band whom the record company is hoping to be the next Jonah Brothers. The bigger question here when the relationship stables and matures, is who's going to make the move to be with the other, permanently, as a sign of commitment.

Ah, that C word. Moving means uprooting your life, forgoing your friends, family and frankly, career as well as you choose to be with someone who stands a significant place in your heart. Like Erin, this represents a risky leap of faith, albeit confusing too when the head and heart battles it out for rationality, that may end up with losing out on everything when the relationship sours, as Eric had experienced before, thus losing a part of her life as an undergraduate that she now has to play catch up. Somehow the premise of the film makes you contemplate whether you're likely to plunge into something like this, or if you're already in one, take stock at where you're at now.

The film has Barrymore and Long to thank for, because when they're on song, and I suspect some scenes here inevitably has real emotions being expressed especially in many off the cuff banter that seems too natural to be staged or scripted. They make a cute couple, and play off each other really well in both scenes intended to tickle your funny bone, and the emotionally dramatic ones that call on them digging a little deeper to express their fears and desires. Co-stars Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis as best friends of Garrett also help to provide plenty of comic relief. Unfortunately with this film being the typical Hollywood rom-com means the sticking to an expected feel good formula, as well as just scratching the surface of the issues it raises for the most parts.

Such as the deliberate crafting of their occupations, where making fleeting and sweeping statements of the state of the music and newspaper industry wasn't minced, and you get periodic reminders of it. It makes passing remarks on the eventual demise of newspapers (and hence the massive layoffs) due to the advent of the blog, and how record labels lament not making a lot of money, when they're heavily investing in crap that can be manufactured off an assembly line, rather than to put their weight behind more worthy, talented acts. The Boxer Rebellion, featured in the film, will be a band that I will checking out real soon as part of the movie's eclectic soundtrack.

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