Erin (Drew Barrymore) is getting a late start on her dreams. At 31, she's finally finishing college with an internship at a New York newspaper. With just six weeks to go before returning to San Francisco to complete her education, she meets Garrett (Justin Long) over a classic game of Centipede.
With similar quirky senses of humor and more than a little disarming honesty, the two quickly pair up. From the beginning, they know that any relationship they have is limited to the next month and a half, so they promise to keep it light and casual. It doesn't work.
Six weeks later, Erin is packed to leave, and Garrett is pretending that's okay. Despite their best efforts, the two are soon burning up the phone lines between the coasts. Erin's sister, Corinne (Christina Applegate) is dismayed knowing that a relationship over such a distance is hard. In fact, it's all but impossible.
The plot seems very simplistic and I suppose that it is. But Garrett's eccentric roommate Dan (Charlie Day) and Erin's sister's personality quirks add real spice to most scenes, and the very real chemistry between the main characters (Barrymore and Long have had a real life on-off-on relationship) transcends the simplicity and makes Going the Distance something more.
Barrymore, as always, is capable, and her innate sweetness shines out from the screen. Long, perhaps best known as the "Mac guy" on those infamous Mac/PC commercials, proves an able partner. Day is good, and though Applegate's role is limited, she steals her scenes almost across the board. Look also for Jim Gaffigan in a small supporting part as Corinne's husband. His deadpan delivery is perfect.
BOTTOM LINE: Going the Distance was amusing without question. But what made it a good movie was the fact that, for all the genuine laughs, it quite simply rang true.
POLITICAL NOTES: None.
FAMILY SUITABILITY: Going the Distance is rated R for "sexual content including dialogue, language throughout, some drug use and brief nudity." While this is not a movie for small children, the tenderness with which the central relationship is played and the integrity and genuine caring portrayed by each half of the central couple wouldn't be a bad lesson for teens to learn. I'd say this film is okay for teens 14 and up.