The R rated romantic comedy is an art form. Push too hard on the proverbial envelope and you end up with a raunch-fest that may make the audience think that there was an F-bomb hotkey on the screenwriter's keyboard. Don't push hard enough and you end up with a watered down nuisance of a movie. 'Going the Distance' seems to be the latter.
'Going the Distance' starts out with a cutesy PG-13 romantic comedy romp feel, and it never recovers. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, if it were trying to be a cutesy PG-13 rom-com. Instead 'Going the Distance' would like you to think it's edgy, and crude. So when Drew Barrymore talks about oral sex or another random F-bomb is dropped for some reason I found myself cringing. The R rated language and adult humor didn't seem to fit here. Imagine Pixar throwing a sex scene into 'Toy Story' between Jessie and Buzz. That's how awkward the "adult" humor feels in this. Now, by no means am I a prude. But, the crudeness of this script coupled with the lovely dovey nature of the story mixes together as well as oil and water.
Garrett (Justin Long) is just getting out of tough relationship. Apparently he just doesn't understand woman and how he's supposed to read their minds. Erin (Drew Barrymore) is a summer intern working at a New York newspaper. Garrett and Erin meet and instantly bond through their love of the arcade game Centipede. Neither of them is looking for anything serious, but wouldn't you know it, serious is what they become.
Unfortunately, Erin is moving home in a few weeks after her internship is up and now we're on to a long distance relationship where Erin and Garrett are forced to nurture their love through texts, phone calls, and emails.
In what almost seems like a carbon copy setup as the superior 'Knocked Up' Erin lives with her sister (Christina Applegate) and her husband (Jim Gaffigan). Like a badly concealed rip-off of the neurotic couple played perfectly by Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd.
'Going the Distance' does, indeed do exactly what its name says. Its 103 minute runtime feels more like 120. We know exactly what will happen and when. Spoilers(?)We know that Erin and Garrett will love each other during the first act, get in a fight during the second act, and make up in the third act leading up to the eventual rosy-feeling catharsis.
There's really nothing to see here. The movie is a mess from beginning to end. It follows all the same hackneyed storylines. It never wavers from the formula. Instead it wants you to think it's different because it has a few swear words here and there, and a few discussions about sex and dry humping.
The 1080p picture provided for 'Going the Distance' on Blu-ray is as mixed up as the movie itself.
First off the movie boasts a strong, warm color palette. Colors do well in daylight, as the lush greens of Central Park give the picture a healthy burst of color. Nighttime scenes don't fare nearly as well. Crushing is a constant offender. There's also a very strange sequence where Garrett and Erin visit an outdoor café at night that feels like it was filmed on videotape rather than film. Noise abounds during this scene, and so do crushing shadows. Fine detail is never stunning, even during the brightly lit scenes. Facial details are about average, fine hairs and pores are barely noticeable even on extreme closeups. I also did notice a few instances of aliasing.
All of this adds up to a transfer that borders on "just ok."
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track provided does slightly better than its video counterpart, although it isn't required to do much. It's main purpose is to produce a clean and clear soundfield for the dialogue to reign supreme.
This is a talkative picture, and much of the dialogue comes across as intelligible and easy to hear. There are a few minor problems with directionality as when Garrett's friend talks to him through the wall, it was never distinctly coming from one edge of the soundstage. Music plays a big role in this movie, as Garrett works for a record company. The bulk of the LFE presented here comes either courtesy of the soundtrack, or the bands Garrett takes Erin to listen to. Surrounds are muted, but do come to life during some of the more crowded scenes like the concert at the end or when Erin and Garrett meet in a crowded bar.
For a rom-com, this type of an audio presentation is sufficient enough, but it will never "wow" anyone.
'Going the Distance' falters under the weight of its exceedingly awkward R rated humor that just doesn't feel like it belongs in this movie. Throw in the fact that the entire film is a cut-and-paste romantic comedy that you've seen a thousand times before and there's just no reason to see it. The video is marginal and the audio is slightly above average. The special features are basically a bunch of promo pieces thrown together. Skip it and go watch 'Flipped' instead!