The older I get, the more I adore romcoms. I’ve always had a soft spot for them – my favourite film of all time is Some Like It Hot – but now I don’t bother to pretend I like ‘em quirky or with subtitles, I’ll frankly watch any old dross as long as it’s got a happy ending. Of course, I have my lovely girls as an excuse – ‘oh, they dragged me to see Knight and Day, what could I do?’ – but in reality it’s me booking the tickets, usually to watch the ever-fragrant Jennifer Aniston attain on screen what she cannot seem to find in real life.
When I got an invitation to see Drew Barrymore in Going the Distance I was, of course, champing at the bit. She was great in ‘He’s just not that into you’, as was the dark-haired Justin Long, her then boyfriend. In fact, I even saw that film twice – though admittedly the second time was on a plane when I’d watched just about everything else going. Anyway, I was really looking forward to her latest offering. Naturally, that meant the gods were not smiling on me, and TL and I had to brave various obstacles before we got into the cinema, namely, a missed train, then a train caught in the nick of time which then turned out to be going to the wrong place, a very cross girlfriend, a hastily-summoned taxi, a massive traffic jam, a run through Piccadilly Circus, a row and a reconcilliation, all before we finally arrived only ten minutes late.
Luckily, missing ten minutes of a romcom is not crucial. It was more of a problem when we missed the first ten minutes of Inception (due to a similar wrong-kind-of-excuse-on-the-line situation), until we realised everyone else was just as baffled as we were. Incidentally, embedding an idea in someone’s mind and making them think it’s their own brainwave? Er, peasy. Don’t we all usually do that ten times before breakfast?
I liked Going the Distance, I really did. It’s a tale of divided lovers, as the pair meet in New York but she soon moves back to San Francisco. But it didn’t pass my test as being a film I could easily sit through and enjoy with my girls. I expect the film makers did this on purpose, as they seemed to be seeking some kind of edgy, funky, indy vibe (I can just imagine how squirmy with embarrassment my girls will be that I’ve typed ‘vibe’ but there you go). Drew’s character is a tomboyish, beer-drinking, hooting with laughter type, who is working as an intern on a paper. But hang on a minute – she’s actually 35! Is anyone still an intern at 35? And still laughing at studenty jokes? But the worst thing for me is that she and Long are seen taking marijuana and loving it – which means it’s a no-no for my girls. They know about drugs, I’m sure they’ll be offered drugs – but I don’t want them to see drugs as part of normal, happy times for people they might well look up to, like glamorous film stars. Shame. The film actually has some really funny moments – there’s a classic scene when the couple arrive back at her sister’s house and end up on the dining room table – but again, it’s not something I’d like to watch with my children. Justin Long does show off his rather nice bod to good advantage though, just so you know. I’m sure loads of older teens, 20-something students and even 35-year-old interns (if any exist) will love the film to bits.
If you want to see a truly amazing romcom, go and see the Heartbreaker. Yes, all right, it does have subtitles, but it’s French and sexy and has fast cars and a gorgeous leading man and Vanessa Paradis wearing really scrumptious frocks. It’s like those Stella Artois ads, come to life, making sense and featuring an even better leading man. Yum.