Review in a Hurry: Bicoastal curious? Then you might get off on this uneven romantic comedy, which flings its young lovers—after their fling—to opposite sides of the country. As a riotous comedy, Distance falls short, but it still racks up several miles for sweetness.
The Bigger Picture: It was only a matter of time before the current queen of rom-coms, Drew Barrymore, teamed up with on-again-off-again boyfriend Justin Long (Are they? Aren't they??). But as demonstrated by her best work in the genre (The Wedding Singer, Music and Lyrics), Barrymore needs a strong leading man who can match her comedic persona. While Long is an amiable guy—and flashes enough skin to give fans a Mac attack—he doesn't quite go the Distance.
Long plays record-label rep Garrett, who bounces back from a breakup by bonding with and bedding journalism intern Erin (Barrymore). The two embark on a six-week-only affair, since she plans to return to San Francisco for the fall semester, and he has his gig in New York.
When their summer-lovin' turns into something more meaningful, neither wants the relationship to end. They decide to try the long-distance thing. But exorbitant airfares limit their actual face—and other body parts—time, so they rely on lots of texting, Skyping, late-night calls, and even phone sex.
Presumably because of their past (current?) romance, Barrymore and Long have a cute, comfortable rapport, and the pic gets grounded when they're not together. Unfortunately, their characters just aren't very interesting. She wants to be a newspaper reporter; he digs indie bands and Top Gun, and—did I mention they're cute?
The laughs are hit-and-miss. There's a good gag involving sex on a dining room table and the reaction by Erin's uptight sister (Christina Applegate). But scenes between Garrett and his doofus buds (Justin Sudeikis, Charlie Day) drag on. Plus, the script sometimes strains to be edgy-funny by scraping the bottom of the taste barrel, with awkward bits about masturbation and oral sex. Definitely not for the whole family—keep the kiddies at a Distance.
The 180—a Second Opinion: Despite being a comedy, the film surprisingly taps into modern-day anxieties about the recession, unemployment, and demise of the newspaper and music industries.