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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 Big Apple 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. And helped by a lot of texting and late-night phone calls, they might actually go the distance.
Going the Distance sparkles with wit and true romance--something of a rarity among mass-market romantic comedies. Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, who have been a couple in real life, use their personal chemistry to effective ends in the film. They play Erin and Garrett, geography-crossed lovers who, after a whirlwind romance of six weeks in New York "Keep it light! Keep it light" they both say, futilely, try to see if they can keep the love fires burning when Erin must move to the West Coast. There are predictable pitfalls and speed bumps that populate any romantic comedy, as well as a sublime supporting cast of friends and siblings. Especially notable is Christina Applegate as Erin's sister, Corinne, jaded and hilarious, and fiercely protective of her sister. But the charm of Going the Distance is in the winsomeness of its main stars. Barrymore and Long seem to be acting effortlessly, and their enjoyment of each other's company lets the audience feel a part of the romance. First-time screenwriter Geoff LaTulippe is less focused on zingers that are hard to believe as dialogue, and more on the subtle ways people get to know each other, and enjoy each other--especially with humor. Director Nanette Burstein documentaries including American Teen and The Kid Stays in the Picture keeps the action moving deftly and lets the two stars shine--even as they long for one another across the miles. Erin and Garrett's stab at phone sex is laugh-out-loud funny, yet their tender, tentative connection feels real and warm. Going the Distance lets its likable stars cross the finish line, and bring the audience along with them. --A.T. Hurley