“Going the Distance” is a factory-processed romantic comedy, cloyingly cute in some parts and requisitely sensitive in others. But Drew Barrymore’s nth rom-com role is a bit different, in that newspaper intern Erin’s a video game geek, an ambitious but realistic career woman, and an uninhibited girl when she hits it off with someone she likes.
And that guy is Garrett (Justin Long), whose very recent breakup is quickly forgotten when he and Erin effortlessly hook up. Things get serious in no time; it’s just too bad that they live and work in opposite coasts. One is already comfortable in New York, while the other sees important career opportunities in San Francisco.
The obligatory sidekicks (Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) provide over-the-top shenanigans to offset the more “realistic” Garrett character. The more awkward moments, specifically sex jokes and not-quite-intimate lovemaking scenes, are more consistently funny. Barrymore’s independent, f-bomb-dropping character is actually likeable, but the long distance relationship drama is pretty normal and too cleanly resolved. When it’s not crawling, this predictable romance still sends its sappy messages adequately.