I knew before watching that Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, the hip guy from the Mac commercials, were/are a real life couple. So, it's very interesting that I didn't feel any spark from them on screen. Sure, they kiss real good and stuff but for a couple slowly falling in love I just felt cold towards them.
Barrymore's character wants to break in to the the newspaper business while Long is toiling away in the recording industry. Neither is happy in work or in love so when they bump into each other at a bar, the sparks don't exactly fly. In fact, their first meeting ranks as one of the most awkward, unromantic, and forced scenarios I've seen on film.
Barrymore plays her role very hard for most of the movie. By hard I mean that she comes off as unemotional and uninterested by anything that is happening to her. Long, on the other hand, is at least given amusing friends to banter with and show some personality.
The couple knows up front that they only have a short time together because Barrymore is leaving for San Francisco to finish up school. After the obligatory 'we're falling in love' montage, she eventually leaves and since I never bought the romance to begin with, I hardly cared.
One important thing to note is that the movie is pretty filthy language-wise which surprised me. I expect explicit talk about genitals and sex when I watch a movie like The Hangover or The 40-Year-Old Virgin but it was really out of place here. It's never funny when the characters start talking this way and it's pretty embarrassing to watch.
If you've seen the trailer for the film, you've seen 90% of the best comedy the movie has to offer. There are a few other chuckles to be had from the friends of the couple but that's about it. There are certainly worse romantic comedies out there that have made way more money. Going the Distance does try to be a little original in the romantic genre but it fails mostly. Laughs are to be found that make it worth seeing on cable TV but until then, give it a pass.