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Drew Barrymore and Justin Long star in 'Going the Distance'

Drew Barrymore and Justin Long’s characters entwine in a low-key long-distance relationship, in the romantic comedy 'Going the Distance.’

By Peter RainerFilm critic / September 3, 2010

Drew Barrymore, left, and Justin Long are shown in a scene from 'Going the Distance.'

Jessica Miglio/Warner Bros./AP

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In the not wonderful romantic comedy “Going the Distance,” Drew Barrymore’s Erin, a San Franciscan interning at a prominent New York newspaper, hooks up with Justin Long’s Garrett, a junior executive at a local record company. Her internship over, jobless, Erin reluctantly flies home, and the lovey-dovey duo settle in for – horrors! – a long-distance relationship.

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Director Nanette Burstein and writer Geoff LaTulippe (love that name) attempt to merge the gross-out sex chatter of the Judd Apatow movies with the sensibility of a chick flick. (An argument can be made that Apatow movies, in which the women are always smarter than the men, are actually stealth chick flicks, but let that pass.) The irony is that, because the merger seems like an act of crass commercial expediency, this film may end up not appealing to either camp.

On the other hand, I suppose, it could appeal to both. Crassness has always had a healthy following in the movies. But Barrymore doesn’t appear to be having a very good time even when she’s supposed to be – playing sufferers isn’t her strong suit – and Long, though charming, is periodically required to descend into slobbola territory.

The shrinking job market makes it difficult for Erin and Garrett to find employment in the same place, but is there ever any doubt how this film will turn out? In its favor, the film doesn’t appear to be set up for a sequel, which makes it almost unique among movies of any stripe these days. Once around the block with these folks is more than enough. Grade: C+ (Rated R for sexual content including dialogue, language throughout, some drug use, and brief nudity.)

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