I wasn’t sure about writing this review because…well, does anyone care? Anybody plan to see it this weekend? OK, in case there’s one die-hard Drew Barrymore fan out there, here goes.
Barrymore’s Erin and Justin Long’s Garrett meet over a videogame, which should clue you in on their general maturity level, in a New York bar. He, an A&R guy at a music label, lives in the city and she, an aspiring journalist, is finishing an internship at the fictional New York Sentinel newspaper. They hit it off instantly and agree to embark on a casual fling for Erin’s remaining six weeks in NYC. To no one’s surprise but theirs, they realize they want to continue their relationship even after she goes home to San Francisco. So they Skype, attempt phone sex, and inundate each other with cutesy texts to try to keep the passion burning. It eventually becomes clear the long distance arrangement isn’t enough and one of them needs to sacrifice everything and move to make the relationship work.
The main problem with this movie is Long. He’s a competent enough actor in supporting roles and the Mac commercials but lacks the charisma to be a romantic leading man. It doesn’t help that his character looks and acts like a college student, living with a roommate (Charlie Day) who doesn’t close the bathroom while on the pot. When Erin is considering giving up a dream job to move to New York and be with Garrett, I thought, “Really? For him? Do you know hard it is to get a job in this economy?” Now, if Garrett had been played by, say, Hugh Jackman, I would’ve been shouting, “GO, girl! Don’t worry—it’ll all work out!” I would have encouraged her to move to Australia and adopt an aborigine wardrobe if need be.
The movie also suffers from a split personality. It wants to be both a crude Apatowish comedy and a rom-com but director Nanette Burstein, a documentarian helming her first fictional feature, doesn’t succeed at meshing the two styles. The romantic sparks barely flicker—Long and Barrymore come across more like platonic friends despite their off-screen history—and the bawdy humor seems forced. At one point, a drunk Erin yells at a guy, “Suck my dick!” It’s not funny the first time; she hollers it again. Still not funny. It’s as if Barrymore was trying really hard to show she can be as raw as any guy. I’d bet she can be (aren’t the sweetest-looking girls usually the dirtiest) but her attempt to prove it here falls flat.
Nerd verdict: Don’t bother Going to see Distance
Photo: Jessica Miglio