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World’s Worst Chick Flick Part 19: Going the Distance

May 31, 2011

I think I’ve given the impression from doing this search for the world’s worst chick flick that I don’t like chick flicks. I do—I really, really do. I could watch You’ve Got Mail a million times, in addition to the 47,000 times I’ve already seen it. I even like some romantic comedies that critics hated (What Happens in Vegas…don’t judge) and cheesy dramas (Where the Heart Is).

So when I give the majority of chick flicks horrible ratings and pinpoint a few dozen reasons why their creators should be banned from movie-making, it’s not because I don’t like girly movies. It’s because I don’t like crappy girly movies.

Despite my high standards, there are a few things that will automatically make me like a movie just a little bit more than usual. First: Drew Barrymore. Ever since the movie Ever After, I’ve had a soft spot for her because she tends to play strong women who are in a relationship because they want to be, not because they need one to feel good about themselves.

Second: A movie where you see the relationship develop and there is no secret agenda (like they’re lying about their job or the relationship is part of a magazine article they’re writing).

Which brings us to today’s movie: Going the Distance, starring Drew Barrymore as Erin and Justin Long as Garrett. The premise is simple. Erin and Garrett start dating six weeks before Erin’s internship in New York City ends. They both decide after the end of the six weeks that what they have is too good to give up, so they do the cross-country relationship thing. It’s hard. They see each other about every three months and find that it sucks to be apart. Drama ensues and crying happens and weird roommates and older sisters give advice.

I’ll give you a hint: It has a happy ending.

I’ll give you another hint: I really liked this movie. I laughed out loud a few times. I can’t tell you the last time I genuinely laughed out loud during a chick flick. But this movie had some actual funny scenes, played out by likable characters.

That’s right—likable characters. Characters I could actually believe exist somewhere out there going to concerts and playing an arcade game. Erin was easy-going and did not try to manipulate Garrett into buying her gifts after telling him not to buy anything. Garrett liked her and was not afraid to admit it. They had issues and fought about things that real people fight about, but it also wasn’t so much like real life that you felt like you were watching a Sam Mendes movie.

However, I should probably warn you that Going the Distance is rated R and for good reason. There’s drug use, and awkward situations, and the characters can be raunchy. But it’s certainly not any raunchier than a Judd Apatow movie, and don’t act like you haven’t seen those so-called “comedies.”

So there you have it—after watching The Break-Up Artist last week, Going the Distance was a nice change. It was like eating dark chocolate gelato after accidentally drinking orange juice that had been in the back of your fridge for a few months and started fermenting. And the flavor of the old orange juice is so potent that you start to wonder if it will ever go away or if you’ll be stuck with the flavor of rotten citrus in your mouth for the rest of your life. But then Drew Barrymore and Justin Long come to save the day and all is right with the world.Going the Distance

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