A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this refreshing romcom is quite a bit edgier than many of star Drew Barrymore's other, more kid-friendly comedies: It's a frank exploration of long-distance relationships and all of the challenges that come with them, from the emotional to the sexual. There's lots of swearing (including frequent use of "f--k"), plus plenty of references to -- and colorful descriptions of -- sex acts (including oral sex, masturbation, phone sex, and more). A few scenes include some partial male nudity (including a memorable butt shot); there's also a fair bit of drinking and some drug use (the lead characters smoke weed with a bong).
What's the story?
Drew Barrymore and her real-life on-and-off beau Justin Long star in GOING THE DISTANCE as Erin and Garrett, two thirtysomethings who hit it off one night at a bar and go on to have a summer fling. Since Erin's leaving New York and moving back to San Francisco after her newspaper internship's over, they vow to keep things light -- but once the six weeks are over, they realize that they like each other a lot more than they first admitted and want to try to stay together long distance. But living thousands of miles apart isn't conducive to a lasting relationship. Can love trump the miles?
Is it any good?
There's something authentic in the way that Going the Distance renders a modern-day relationship -- and one conducted from a distance, at that. It tries not to sugarcoat the emotional and sexual frustrations that such a setup unleashes. Which may be why the too-neat ending detracts from what is otherwise an entertaining, if a little predictable, romantic comedy.
Still, it's lots of fun. Erin and Garrett's meeting is cute, but not too cute, and there's enough edge in their banter to make it believable. That believability may have something to do with Long and Barrymore's history, as well as director Nanette Burstein's documentary filmmaking credentials. Extra props go to Christina Applegate as Erin's overprotective sister and to Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day as Garrett's best friends, too. Bottom line? Suffice it to say that Going the Distance keeps the journey interesting.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the film portrays sex, drinking, and drug use. Do you think it's intending to send any specific messages about those topics? What can some of the real-life repercussions of those behaviors be?
Who do you think this film is intended to appeal to? How can you tell?
Parents, talk to your teens about realistic expectations for dating and romance.
- In theaters: September 3, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: November 30, 2010
- Cast: Christina Applegate, Drew Barrymore, Justin Long
- Director: Nanette Burstein
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Romance
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sexual content including dialogue, language throughout, some drug use and brief nudity
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