9.05.2010

REVIEW: Going the Distance (Nanette Burstein, 2010)

From my perspective, the romantic comedy process has been epitomized by the work of Marc Lawrence. Sadly that's not a compliment. From writing "Miss Congeniality" to auteuring a trio of painfully stilted Hugh Grant pictures (most recently "Did You Hear About the Morgans"), Lawrence - among others, of course - has stamped mainstream date movies with formula so transparent and redundant it's a wonder anyone manages to tell a "Two Weeks Notice" from a "Music & Lyrics". Burstein, however, approaches "Distance" with ideas beyond the simple meeting of a studio's quota. Her film joins the ranks of "The Sweetest Thing" and "Little Black Book" as romcoms with more than a couple pretty faces before a camera, obligated to fall in (what they call) love just because they got top billing on a poster.

Alright, so "Distance" isn't some barrier-busting masterwork. It hits emotional points expected from any of this ilk and leaves certain technicalities on the curb. Thing is, it charts its path with methods original enough to be distinguishable. First we have gender reversal. It is easily argued Garrett, coy and vulnerable, is the central relationship's "girl" where Erin, a brash jokester, is the "guy". Then, take into account the trials of living apart replacing the ever-tiresome trope of illusory infidelity. Toss in an Apatow-esque edge with troves of referential fan service for children of the '80s and yeah, "Distance" is indeed original enough.

3 comments:

  1. Excellent write-up. It's no secret that the film lacks a bit in terms of technical prowess, i.e. questionable editing, pacing and so forth, but like you, I appreciated what it offers in terms of raucous humor, likable characters and a different enough premise to warrant a view.

    P.S. I'm venturing out to see Afterlife tomorrow so keep an eye out for my write-up.

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  2. Sweet! Here's hoping I haven't led you astray. Where GtD has all that goodness re: script but falters technically, Afterlife is the opposite... so long as you're not aching to be compelled by anything but a nearly non-stop barrage of slick effects, it should go okay. It'll engross the willing :)

    There's one thing that has been bugging me about GtD... the second time Garrett goes to San Fransisco... when he's leaving... they don't show much of the airport, but... is Erin actually in the terminal with him? It looks like she's waiting for his plane with him right at the gate, which - unless there's something I don't realize about San Fran's airport - would have required her to buy a ticket. Obviously this is neither here nor there... but... just wondering if you noticed it, too, I suppose.

    As always, thank you very much for the read - I'm glad you liked it! I'll keep an eye out for your RE4 write-up.

    By the by - do you or your blog have a Facebook or Twitter I can follow?

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  3. I really did hate Extinction, but I'm a sucker for anything that relies heavily on eye-popping visuals (especially when presented in 3D). On another note, I was strongly considering setting up a Twitter account, providing it would serve its purpose, at least to some degree.

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