Dec 092010
 

Admittedly, I went into Going the Distance with some low expectations and even though yes the movie isn’t anything special, the cast from the leads to the supporting players, are fun. Where the movie falls apart is the fact the story itself, albeit unique, just isn’t very interesting and became a little boring towards the end. The Blu-ray itself isn’t much better from average video and audio transfers and a forgettable set of featurettes that altogether run maybe 25-minutes total.


Going the Distance (2010)

 

Genre(s): Comedy, Romance
Warner Bros. | R – 103 min. – $35.99 | November 30, 2010

 

MOVIE INFO:
Directed by:
Nanette Burstein
Writer(s):
Geoff LaTulippe (written by)
Cast:
Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate

Theatrical Release Date: September 3, 2010

DISC INFO:
Features:
Commentary, 4 Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Music Video, DVD/Digital Copy
Number of Discs:
2

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video:
1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles:
English SDH, French, Spanish
Codec:
VC-1
Region(s): A, B, C

THE MOVIE – 3/5

Plot: Erin (DREW BARRYMORE) and Garrett (JUSTIN LONG) strike sparks for a summer fling in New York City but neither expects it to last once Erin heads home to San Francisco and Garrett remains behind for his job. But after six increasingly romantic weeks, neither is sure they want it to end. So despite the opposing coasts, naysaying friends and family and a few unexpected temptations, the couple just might have found something like love

I’ve got to think that the romantic comedy genre is the toughest one to write because while you can shake things up in an action movie or a thriller, there’s not a whole lot of deviation you can do with rom-coms because the audience, despite their complaints of a film being predictable, don’t want wrenches thrown in (see 2006’s The Break-Up). I guess you can say I’m one of them and you’ve got big problems if the two leads don’t quite mesh (The Bounty Hunter for instance, now there’s one where they tried to mix action with romantic comedy… didn’t turn out too well at all).

So with Going the Distance, they try some a little different and instead of a new budding relationship comedy where our new couple feel each other out before one pisses the other off (maybe it’s commitment issues), they eventually get back together. Here the obstacle isn’t of a commitment nature but instead one of distance, hence the title. On the surface one would think this would make for an interesting obstacle for our star-crossed lovers. It was anything but. In fact, I thought this was one of the most yawn-inducing romantic-comedy I’ve ever seen. The issue at hand is despite the couple going from New York to San Francisco and back, not a whole lot goes on and the solution in the end was so obvious the whole thing could’ve been over in maybe 90-minutes.

As for the cast, Hollywood likes to try to pair up various actors and while sometimes it has worked out like it did for Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally or Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle and often enough it fails (Gerard Butler – again – and Katherine Heigl in the terrible The Ugly Truth). Here we get a nice pairing between the always adorable Drew Barrymore and the oddly nerdy-yet-still-gets-the-hot-chicks Justin Long making the most of a screenplay — by first-time writer Geoff LaTulippe — that doesn’t allow the central characters to do a whole lot. Both Long and Barrymore have decent chemistry with one another and even though it is far better than some of the awful pairings we’ve seen recently especially since they seem to be having a good time. That said, I also didn’t see some instant sparks either.

Then you get the obligatory odd but lovable best friends and/or out-there family members which work well enough thanks to casting some truly funny actors (Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate and the woefully underused Jim Gaffigan). And then we add to the list Ron Livingston who really has little to do in his 2-minute cameo.

Also, I’m not sure if selecting a director like Nanette Burstein was the smartest move as her previous features have all been documentaries (her last being American Teen). It is a romantic-comedy so not a whole lot needs to be expected in terms of style but it’s such an unusual choice to go from the world of documentaries to a feature-length genre film like this.

In the end, Going the Distance isn’t a bad romantic comedy thanks in small part to the casting both in the leads and supporting roles but the script doesn’t help matters when the situations, even the more outlandish ones that involves Long’s butt, is fairly boring.

SPECIAL FEATURES – 1/5

This release comes with a standard cardboard slip cover and two discs are housed inside a regular Blu-ray case.

Additional Scenes (12:48; HD) – Here we get a selection of scenes excised or trimmed down from the movie no doubt for good reasons. Some of the scenes look like the cast are just having some fun but obviously they needed to move the story along.

BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES – 2.5/5

Feature Commentary – This low-key track features director Nanette Burstein as she guides us through the process of directing her first fiction film and giving us insights into the various aspects from casting to the titles.

How to Have the Perfect Date (7:51; HD) – This featurette allows the cast (including Justin Long and Drew Barrymore) answer the question what makes the perfect date or “What’s the best way to ask someone on a date?” and those kinds of questions. Some of the non-serious answers were kind of funny but this is one of those throw-away featurettes.

A Guide to Long Distance Dating (7:57; HD) – This is a part making-of featurette and part confessional from the cast and crew about the difficulty of long distance dating and their own experiences.

The Cast of Going the Distance: Off the Cuff (4:19; HD) – This is a gag reel in which the cast goes, well, off the cuff, and do some ad-libs on their lines. There are some funny moments.

There’s also a Behind the Scenes of the Going the Distance Soundtrack (2:27; HD) and a music video (3:25; HD) for “If You Run” by The Boxer Rebellion.

The set includes a DVD/Digital Copy Combo Disc as well. As with other Warner releases, the DVD only includes the movie. There isn’t even a chapter selection.

VIDEO – 3.25/5

Going the Distance makes its short distance trip (only a 4 month journey) to Blu-ray with a 2.35 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. This is a mostly uneven video transfer as it seems the balance from good to bad would change from one scene to another. For instance, there’s a dinner date scene where Barrymore and Long are sitting outside and the whole thing looked a tad blurry, not so much that it’s distracting mind you, but it was not pretty. But even during the daylight scenes were normally detail levels would grab you, it just was not there. Colors were alright if not a bit oversaturated at times while the black levels were good enough. While this could be a poor video transfer, I think this is more about how the film was shot.

AUDIO – 3.5/5

Meanwhile, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio gets the job done if only to surround the viewer with Mychael Danna’s seemingly recycled score (there’s nothing to discern it from any other romantic comedy) and the dialogue which primarily makes use of the center channel. There are a couple club scenes though in which the other channels get a slight workout but it’s nothing special.

OVERALL – 3/5

Admittedly, I went into Going the Distance with some low expectations and even though yes the movie isn’t anything special, the cast from the leads to the supporting players, are fun. Where the movie falls apart is the fact the story itself, albeit unique, just isn’t very interesting and became a little boring towards the end. The Blu-ray itself isn’t much better from average video and audio transfers and a forgettable set of featurettes that altogether run maybe 25-minutes total.

 

Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Published: 12/09/2010

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