Boy meets girl. They engage in some harmless flirting and decide to exchange phone numbers. Boy and girl date and eventually fall in love. The only hitch is they live in two different cities far away from each other. This is the basic premise for “Going the Distance,” a romantic comedy that explores the inside of a long distance relationship.
Drew Barrymore plays Erin, a late bloomer in life due to a past disastrous relationship, who is interning in New York City for the summer. Justin Long plays Garret, a clueless man-boy who never seems to get it right when it comes to relationships. Barrymore and Long’s onscreen chemistry works for most of the film, although there are a couple of moments when the chemistry falters and you find yourself not really feeling it.
The funniest moments in the film are the ones with Garret’s male friend Dan, played by Charlie Day. You can’t help laughing at a character that listens to his friend’s lovemaking in the room next door while serenading them with Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away.” Day plays the part with such sincerity that the jokes are all the more funny. Some of the humor is sophomoric, but it’s fun to watch, including giving new meaning to doing it on the dining room table.
The movie neither fails nor succeeds when it shows the dating sequence between Barrymore and Long. It follows the rules of most romantic comedies in that the goal is to keep it light and clichéd.
What this movie does try to do, with a certain degree of success, is to present an honest look at the trials and tribulations of long distance relationships; from loneliness, lack of sex, a phone sex experience, texting love messages and finally the question of whether long distance relationships really work. This brings up an interesting topic of discussion concerning long distance relationships and college students.
According to research done with over 200 couples by the The Centre for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, the average distance involved in a long distance relationship is 125 miles. In a recent study done by the journal “Communications Research,” about half of college students are currently involved in long distance relationships. The projection is that about 75 percent will be in a long distance relationship at some time in the future.
As written in the article “Long Distance Relationships” (Dzul et al): “The means of communication, especially over long distances, have changed drastically.”
Technology can help and hinder long distance relationships, but the question becomes what role it has in a long distance relationship.
“Maybe the question is how we use technology to communicate with each other. And the essence of how is critical here,” Dzul said. “Not how as in what type, or how often, but how as in the content of what we say through technology, when we say it, and what circumstance make it appropriate or inappropriate.”
Some couples are able to make it work. Some would say that the best part of long distance relationships are the excited reunions. It helps to make the relationship spicier when the two see each other after being miles apart for so long. But can these happy reunions hold a long distance relationship together? “Going the Distance” gives its own interpretation to this question.
Story by Shawn Buckenmeyer