Going the Distance

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Movie: Going the Distance

Where You Can Stream It: HBO Max

The Pitch: Erin (Drew Barrymore) and Garrett (Justin Long) strike sparks during 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 romantic weeks, neither is sure they want it to end. So despite opposing coasts, naysaying friends and family, and 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.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: Romantic comedies are mostly predictable and cliched, but every now and then one comes along that perfectly mixes the tropes of Hollywood romance with just the right kind of R-rated comedy and some irresistible chemistry. That’s exactly what happens with Going the Distance, the raunchy yet charming long distance romantic comedy that makes fantastic use of the real-life romance between Drew Barrymore and Justin Long.

By casting Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, Going the Distance benefits from the romance that sparked between the two actors after they worked on He’s Just Not That Into You in 2008. The chemistry between these two is undeniable, rivaling the on-screen romance that Barrymore had with Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. But that’s just half of what makes Going the Distance a thoroughly entertaining romcom.

A romantic comedy relies on the chemistry of its two leads, but the trusted family and friends of the lovers in question can also make or break a movie like this. Thankfully, Long has Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day to bounce off of, making for hilarious improvised conversations in the bars, diners and streets of New York City. From toilet beers to the power of mustaches, Sudeikis and Day prove that they deserve their own movie together. Meanwhile, Barrymore confides in the underrated Christina Applegate as her sister, and the deal is only sweetened by the presence of Jim Gaffigan as her bumbling brother-in-law.

But getting back to the romance of it all, what’s great about Going the Distance is that, along with the big laughs, it packs an emotional punch. This is a love story with all the ups and downs of a long distance relationship, and you feel the pain that these two go through as they try to make it work. Both Long and Barrymore have never been better, and you’ll find yourself rooting for them every step of the way. Even if you know that this is the kind of movie that requires a happy ending, that doesn’t make it resonate any less, especially if you’ve ever been in a long distance relationship yourself.

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