This Date With Barrymore And Long Barely Makes It Through The Night
By T.T. Stern-Enzi
I was spoiled this time last year by Marc Webb who gave us 500 fractured days with Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) in what was definitely not a love story, but darn it if I didn’t fall in love anyway, much like Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). He loved her; she wasn’t quite feeling him. But by the end, there was a new season’s worth of hope for more love and longing, so it was all right for me to return to theaters with my own sense of optimism still intact.
That’s exactly what I’ve done. I’ve been searching for a reel love to replace (500) Days of Summer.
And I thought that Going the Distance, with real life off and on againers Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, just might have been the One because besides the two cute leads, there’s Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia who could be Zach Galifianakis’s younger brother (the one born and raised on some raunchy alternative universe’s version of Gilligan’s Island who gets re-introduced to urban civilization like Tarzan). All of which means I assumed this movie date would be a keeper since she was cute and funny with a touch of crudeness in her, just enough to let me know she wasn’t an innocent from the burbs.
Yet, right off the bat, things failed to click like I expected. Erin (Barrymore) and Garrett (Long) meet cute and fall hard and fast into a formulaic screen version of love – in a geek’s dream of a one-night stand where they fight over a Centipede machine (Erin’s aiming to break her own high score). They have six weeks before Erin has to leave NYC, heading back to Stanford to finish her masters in journalism, while Garrett spins his heels in the City as an A&R rep for a record company. Of course, they figure they will try the long distance route and encounter all of the requisite complications with not so helpful advice coming from friends (like Day) and family (that would be big sis Christina Applegate for Barrymore). The male interactions feel like 40 Year Old Virgin riffs and the sisterly dynamic has been filched from Knocked Up.
Come on, I expected much more.
I wanted something meaningful and special. In my heart of hearts though, this time, I wasn’t looking for love or even lust, but I certainly hoped for more than the kind of date that ends south of the friend zone – that place out in the distance where you go out of your way to never see this one again.
Going the Distance can be seen at Rave The Greene 14, Melody 49 Drive-In and more
Reach DCP film critic T.T. Stern-Enzi at firstname.lastname@example.org