Garrett (Justin Long) is a guy who has trouble committing. After getting dumped by his girlfriend after failing to get her a birthday gift, he goes out to a bar with his roommate Dan (Charlie Day) and their friend Box (Jason Sudeikis). It’s there he meets Erin (Drew Barrymore), a struggling journalist who is in New York for the summer working as an intern at the New York Sentinel. The two hit it off and begin a whirlwind romance despite the fact that Erin only has six weeks left in the city before her internship ends and she has to fly back to San Francisco.
Rather than just leaving their time together as a fling, deeper feelings develop and Erin and Garrett decide to try their relationship long-distance until Erin can find a job in New York, or Garrett can find employment in California. Along the way, there are plenty of obstacles and as the months pass, Erin and Garrett need to decide if their relationship is worth giving up on their own dreams to be together.
It’s really no surprise that Long and Barrymore have some pretty engaging chemistry on screen, given their history as a couple in real life, especially during the filming of this movie. Going the Distance is a pretty realistic view of how difficult long-distance relationships can be. Not only in terms of physical distance but emotional distance as well. Add in a three hour time difference and temptations from other people, not to mention well-intentioned advice from friends and family, it’s bound to put a strain on even the strongest relationships. Barrymore is her usual charming self, and while Erin toes the line of the ‘Cool Girl’ trope, she never dives completely in which keeps her on a relatable level. Long doesn’t do anything overly special in this movie. I feel like I’ve seen his character several times before, but he and Barrymore seem to connect in a way that makes Garrett a tolerable leading man.
The romance between Garrett and Erin is the heart of the story, but the supporting characters provide the majority of the laughs. Day and Sudeikis do what they do best and have some of the funniest scenes in the movie. Christina Applegate, as Erin’s sister, is more subtle than Day and Sudeikis, but still adds some salty, biting humor to the movie. Together, they balance the more sentimental aspects of the script and this is raunchy humor done right.
Going the Distance succeeds in keeping you invested in the core relationship of the movie, thanks to the strong chemistry between Long and Barrymore, and a smart script that elevates the movie beyond your basic, fluffy rom-com.