Going the Distance comes to UK Region Free Blu-ray with a 1080p High Definition rendition in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.35:1. It’s quite a broad scope for a comedy, particularly one which tries its best to be a realistic affair, and often – perhaps thanks to some, intentionally ‘frank’ cinematography – suffers visually as a result. Detail is generally quite good but I say generally, and there are a few too many softer moments to go unnoticed. Edge enhancement is all but non-existent, but the grain level (again, perhaps, intentionally) varies quite a bit, not only between day and night-time sequences, but also from one shot to the next. One particular outdoor dinner scene looks particularly shoddy, but I’m almost certain it was a stylistic decision – even though the consequences of that are to show some of the worst quality video in this entire presentation. Still, it’s just a different way to present a romantic comedy, and whilst it does not always stand up to expectations – nor compare to anything we’ve seen from most recent mainstream releases – but it shouldn’t impinge upon your viewing pleasure too much and, who knows, maybe you’ll even like the stylistic choices. All in all, it’s very difficult to accept on a technical scale, and probably deserves a pretty average rating as a result, but that should not put you off the release, just don’t expect it to blow you away visually.
On the aural front things are much easier to assess, but only in that they are more conventionally average. The track we get to adorn this release may indeed be of the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 flavour, but it does nothing particularly special to push the boundaries of such a track’s capabilities. This is mostly because of the limitations of the material – romantic comedies have seldom had boisterous aural accompaniments – but it certainly does not result in anything with which you can disturb the neighbours, or even anything which offers minute observation of the atmospherics and ambience. Dialogue is clearly the name of the game here, and the words spoken come across clearly and coherently throughout, largely dominating the frontal array – and thus the entire track. Effects, as stated, are minimalist, with only some noisy bars, bustling crowds and examples of manic New York traffic breaching the surrounds and giving you something that borders on a backdrop to the proceedings. The score is populated by expectedly cheesy, feel-good tracks, but there’s nothing too nauseous on offer here, and its perhaps the most exciting part of this aural presentation, again allowing the surrounds to get up to something. This is far from a noteworthy aural accompaniment, but it’s perfectly serviceable, and does the job here when it comes to this particular release.
First up we get a full length Audio Commentary from the relatively new Director Nanette Bernstein. This is her debut feature film, having done a couple of documentaries, and she clearly comes across as quite new to this game – and certainly new to delivering Commentaries. This one is particularly dry scene-specific stuff, with discussions about how scenes were filmed, what locations were chosen and how she wanted to make them just as important a part of the movie as the characters themselves. (I’ve heard this too many times recently, “we wanted to make New York a character as well”) She says all the necessary things – how they developed the leads, what Drew and Justin brought to the table – but I doubt even the most avid fans will want to sit through the whole of this in its entirety.
How to Have the Perfect Date is a fluffy little 8-minute Featurette that subsists on cast and crew soundbites on dating. They try to offer both male and female opinions on dating and date ‘language.’
A Guide to Long Distance Dating takes the same approach with regards to long distance relationships, purporting to be a go-to-list of things to do (and not do) in this situation, and explaining how they tried to make the film as realistic as possible in this regard. A little too self-congratulatory, this 8-minute Featurette is another fluffy throwaway offering.
The Cast of Going the Distance: Off the Cuff gives you 4 minutes of improvisational footage of the cast in character going way beyond the script. Quite amusing.
Deleted Scenes: we also get 7 distinctly averaged Deleted Scenes, totally 13 minutes of extra footage. A couple of funny lines here and there don’t give this distinctly R-rated extra material any place in the final film. It’s mostly more of that abrasively crude humour that already feels out of place in the movie as it is.
Music Video: “If You Run” by The Boxer Rebellion, the band that you see actually perform in the movie itself.
Behind the Distance of Going the Distance Soundtrackis a quick 2-minute promo for the movie’s soundtrack.
Going the Distance won’t make guys suddenly see a whole new side to romantic comedies, but it does offer a surprisingly – and refreshingly – honest take on relationships, and features a warm, realistic chemistry from the two real-life-couple leads, Drew Barrymore and Justin Long. It’s R-rated humour seems distinctly out-of-place, and, in this respect, it often tries to be ‘young and hip’ like Superbad and Knocked Up – with no such success. Still, it’s certainly not without humour, and is considerably better than the shockingly awful litany of tripe that the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez churn out on a painfully regular basis. Where their films give a bad name to the hackneyed romantic comedy genre, Going the Distance goes a baby step towards proving there’s life in it yet.
On Region Free UK Blu-ray we get hard-to-assess video presentation (which is pretty damn far from demo quality, however lenient you’re feeling) and a fairly average aural accompaniment, as well as pretty throwaway extras; but the fact that many romcom fans won’t quibble all that much about not having amazing visuals and a kick-ass soundtrack probably means that, for fans, this is a perfectly serviceable edition to pick up. Worth a rent for a date night, it may not convert boyfriends into romcom aficionados, but it probably won’t leave them reaching for their Lethal Weapon boxset either.
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