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Going The Distance (2010) Print E-mail
Thursday, 09 December 2010
ImageIf you look at the title, “Going The Distance” and think that it is a somewhat not-so-clever twist on a long distance relationship and a guy who can’t commit to a relationship then you would be right.  “Going The Distance” is a film about just that, and it doesn’t really pull it off.

The film has a few hilarious moments, but overall, it leaves you estranged and longing for the film to end.  Again, this film fits in the column of near-perfect date movies.  Both men and women can find something to enjoy to barely get them through the film.  However, as a film and story it is lacking movement.

“Going The Distance” takes us on a stale journey that has been covered many times before.  Somehow filmmakers thought that the real-life relationship of Justin Long and Drew Barrymore would make this film more than what it is, a story of you move out here, no, you move here.

On the night that Garrett (Justin Long) gets dumped due to his inability to understand the female mind, he rebounds with Erin (Drew Barrymore), whom he meets at the bar that is relationship breakup ritual.  She is his equal in wits.  She is not afraid to say exactly what she means.  There is no mystery with the two of them.  Everything is laid out upfront.  Unfortunately, Erin is only New York for her summer internship with the New York Sentinel Newspaper.

Erin and Garrett try to keep it casual but at the end of six weeks that have fallen for each other and are determined to make a long distance relationship work, with him in New York and her in San Francisco.  For the most part it is a matter of a bunch of text messaging.  In fact that makes up most of the second act.  Just for poor measure, the filmmakers throw in the stereotypical, faithfulness doubt.  Garrett becomes insecure when he meets Erin’s co-worker.  Adding to the cliché are the two best friends that try to persuade Garrett that the long-distance relationship isn’t worth it.  Any bonehead can see these “friends” are there just to act as a story stretcher.
Meanwhile, we have Kelli Garner, who is entirely under utilized.  She serves up an anti-climatic moment toward the end of the film.  She could have had a much more developed character.  She works with Garrett and is in a long distance relationship herself and could have been a valuable asset to Garrett.  Instead the filmmakers didn’t seem to know how to handle her so at one point she is a trusty advisor and the next moment she is drunk, home wrecker.  I know that this is a bit lengthy for a minor character in the film, but Garner deserves much for attention.

“Going The Distance” has plot holes and moments that you simply rewrite in your own head as the movie progresses, or doesn’t progress as it might be.  It is hard to just let go and let this film be what it is going to be, because the film doesn’t seemingly know the answer either.

With the film not being of the greatest quality, one might think they could look forward to a nice video transfer.  Unfortunately that is not the case.  New Line’s VC-1 encode at a 2.40:1 aspect ratio is extremely lackluster.  Most of the issues stem from an overwhelming number of different cinematographic styles.  There are instances in which the image looks very natural and warm.  Then there are instances in which it looks like they are filming a documentary.  The image is a hodgepodge of pretty and ugly shots.  Black levels are largely unresolved throughout the film, flattening the image and leading to crushed details in the shadows.  Inconsistencies reign supreme in this transfer.  Film grain is all over the place, and some sequences, such as the café date are abhorrent.

The audio transfer fairs a bit better\, but not by much.  As a romantic comedy, there isn’t a lot of opportunity for sound design elements, but there were a few big ones that were missed.  The film is dialogue driven and it is deliver clean and clear for the most part.  There are several instances in which the dialogue sounds a bit processed due to production noises, where ADR probably would have been a better solution.  Frequency response is a bit weak and dynamics are limited to a typical dialogue-driven film standard.  The LFE pops in once in the entire film.  The surround channels contain some information but it is never engaging or seemingly relevant when used.  The stereo width of the front field is not as expansive as I thought it could have been.  Does the audio track get the job done?  Probably.  Could it have been better?  Absolutely.

The Blu-ray comes with a typical set of bonus materials for a romantic comedy.  There is an audio commentary with director Nanette Burstein that fails to engage.  “A Guide To Long Distance Dating” looks at the real story behind the film’s concept.  “How To Have The Perfect Date” is a discussion with the cast on dating tips.  “The Cast Of ‘Going The Distance:’ Off The Cuff” is a discussion of the film’s intentions.  Lastly, there are some deleted scenes, a music video and a promo of the soundtrack.  A DVD/Digital Copy combo disc is also included.

“Going The Distance” might be suitable for a date night at home, but don’t expect to be left fulfilled.  The film ends leaving the main characters in the same position they have been in for the entirety of the movie.  Very underwhelming.  The audio and video transfers are average but hardly defining.  This might be worth a rent depending on your tastes.

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