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Going the Distance (2010)

(R) 102 mins

Synopsis: A romantic comedy centered on a guy and a gal who try to keep their love alive as they shuttle back and forth between New York and San Francisco to see one another.

Director: Nanette Burstein

Writer: Geoff LaTulippe

Stars: Drew BarrymoreJustin Long and Ron Livingston

Serious Jest:  (Must See)  I recently went through a breakup with a woman whom I really considered my best friend in the world.  She was cool, fun, sexy, interesting, sweet, thoughtful, driven, intelligent, passionate, altruistic, and beautiful.  A major contributing factor to the breakup was the distance between us–she lives in Jersey, I’m in DC.  We saw each other every other weekend.  We have both been going through some of the toughest times in our lives.  Some jealousy started to set in.  And, instead of establishing clear boundaries right away, we were kind of finding them by trial & error.  Anyway, when the end came, privacy was violated, so-called “evidence” was found that was out of context and from a much earlier time when those unclear boundaries were in place, things were seen that couldn’t be unseen, things were said that couldn’t be forgotten, and Humpty Dumpty fell off that wall.

Even though I’ve accepted that we will never be able to piece our relationship together again, I still get to live with the knot in my stomach every time I see or hear things that remind me of her, including songs by Alicia Keys and Adele, especially Someone Like You, and any film about people who should have been great together breaking up.  I’m not the type of guy who watches rom-coms by myself, and now that I’ve lost her, I try to stay away from romantic movies altogether.  I’m kind of down on the whole love thing altogether right now.

That being said, I was flipping through HBO on Demand alone on a Saturday night, when I should have been out at a bar watching the UFC fight, but wasn’t feeling social, and I came across this movie.  I hadn’t heard of it before, but the cast was loaded with funny people, and maybe I was in a bit of a masochistic mood.  Seeing Charlie Day‘s name in the cast was the chip that tipped the scale for me, and I pressed play.  That guy cracks me up.

Well, given what I’ve told you in my first paragraph above, this movie delivered the punch to the stomach that I was looking for…it also kicked me even harder in the funny bone.  I mean, one minute I was choking back tears during an insightful scene about relationships, and the next I was spilling them as I laughed out loud harder than I had in a while.

When I think “romantic comedy,” I often think of sappy, unfunny flicks produced by studios who prefer not to take risks in order to make a few easy bucks off of their target audiences, who are largely 16-year old girls and 35-year-old cat ladies (not that there’s anything wrong with cats; I have three; but you know what I mean).  This movie is surprisingly raw.  It doesn’t pull any punches…not in its jokes, not in its romantic commentary, not in its insights into friendships.  The dialogue is awesome, and the acting is perfect.  Long, Day, and Jason Sudeikis captured the essence of three guys who are honest with each other and have each other’s backs, eccentricities and all.  Barrymore and Christina Applegate have great chemistry as sisters with no secrets, and they held nothing back when discussing the “facts of life.”  And Applegate and Jim Gaffigan are hilarious as a veteran married couple who are happily miserable (if that makes any sense).  This one’s not for the squeamish, though.  There are a whole lot of F-bombs and genitalia references thrown around.  The whole script sounds like it was written by a guy…or a chick as cool as my ex-girlfriend was.

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About Serious Jest

Film & TV Reviewer by Choice, Attorney at Law, Marine to the Corps (excuse the pun), Nupe Under Pressure, and MC by Nature

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