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Overall Rating

Awesome: 25%
Worth A Look: 8.33%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap66.67%

1 review, 6 user ratings

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National Lampoon's Going the Distance
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by Jason Whyte

"It's about time for another teen movie, eh?"
1 stars

Just last week, I viewed a little independent Vancouver film called "Everyone" and remarked how it didn't fall into the trap of being like every other Canuck flick made up here. Bill Marchant's intimate character-study knew and understood its characters, and was different from the typical stories about family dysfunction and living in a small town that frequent cinemas up here.

"Going The Distance" is Canadian. Painfully Canadian. This is the result of a group of filmmakers who want nothing more than to make their own version of a road trip with the map of "American Pie" and "Eurotrip" as their advantage point. And it's also been backed by the usual Alliance Atlantis marketing push (CHUM-TV also backed this film, if you care), forcing its way into every cinema the way that "Men With Brooms" did two years ago, and will most likely, like "Brooms", disappear from cinemas two weeks later. And for American readers, this film will go straight to video down there, so look for a single copy on a Blockbuster shelf. (Wait, don't.)

The film opens in Tofino, where Nick (Christopher Jacot) is in love with Trish (Katheryn Winnick) and wants to marry her. When she gets a job as an assitant to a hot-shot producer (Jason Priestly...yes, Jason Prisetly) and leaves for Toronto, Nick is stuck back in Tofino-land, love-struck. He decides to buy a plane ticket and head out to Toronto to get her, but his goofy, partying buddies Dime and Tyler (Ryan Belleville and Shawn Roberts) get him drunk and take him on a road trip to Toronto in Nick's RV instead in the hopes of cheering him up. It certainly won't get them there any faster.

The road trip bumps along until Sasha (Joanne Kelly) and Jill (Mayko Nguyen) are picked up as hitchhikers. The gang are also being followed by a strange man who was hired by Nick's parents to stop him from trying to marry Trish. And many drugs are consumed, beers drank, tents set on fire, and so on, as the gang drives out to Toronto to get to this girl that Nick wants to marry. Much chaos ensues. There's even some jokes about those new pesky cell-phone cameras, some of which can even track a digital signal all the way out into Canadian country. Uh-huh.

I guess if you're the kind of person that goes to the movies to not think about anything that occurs on screen, then "Going The Distance" might be worthwhile. There's nary an original idea or sequence present in the film. When the gang's RV gets stuck on a train track on a bridge in the middle of nowhere, a moment later we hear the train whistles in the background and destroys the RV. Why must the train always be coming by? It would be amusing to see a sequence where the RV gets stuck, falls off the short bridge, and a few minutes later a train comes by. I imagined a character saying "At least the train didn't get us!" and then my laughter.

The film climaxes on the big Muchmusic Video Awards show, which essentially means an outside party for Toronto-ites with a few cameras covering an outside stage. I've seen the "awards" show before and they aren't even trying anymore. The production crew for "Going The Distance" couldn't even do proper coverage of filming it; rather, the close-up shots were filmed in my home town of Victoria, BC (along with several other scenes in the area) with an Avril Lavinge cameo that certainly won't put her along the thespain singer/actor lines of Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan.

The list of Canadian actors aren't awful, they just aren't given much to run with here. All of the leads I can truly see move on to better, more interesting films than this, especially Joanne Kelly, who bears a striking resemblance to Liv Tyler with a bit of Jessica Pare' ("Lost and Delirious", "Stardom") mixed in. Shawn Roberts plays a VERY muscled Seann William Scott who is amusing at times, and I see a future for the actor. Ditto for Ryan Belleville, who reminds me a bit of Eddie Kaye Thomas from "American Pie". In fact, the entire cast reminds me of their American-teen movie counterparts.

(An actor-aside: Jay Brazeau, who is a delightful Vancouver/Toronto-based actor whom I've met on a few occasions and can really make me laugh, has a one-scene as a supermarket cashier that goes completely against everything he's ever done. Why, Jay, why?)

For once I'd like to see a teen-oriented film that ventures off into a little bit of likable, original territory. I've remarked in the past about Lukas Moodysoon's work ("Show Me Love", "Lilya 4-Ever") and how he really should make a film over here. The new film "Mean Creek" (which I have yet to see) is also getting raves about how youth really act. The same can be done for even a comedy, and even moreso a Canadian comedy. Why should we have to put up with the same garbage, over and over again, when the industry is so capable of putting out something better than this or "Sleepover"?

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originally posted: 08/27/04 03:20:58
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User Comments

4/09/06 Samaconda If your ready to accept this film for exactly what it is..funny as shit 4 stars
1/18/06 Jim Horvath cool 5 stars
8/23/05 Jin painful and unwatchable. Zero laughs. Makes Europtrip look Oscar-caliber. 1 stars
11/11/04 Matt Berkowitz One of the best teen movies ever 5 stars
10/23/04 T-macK Mayko Nguyen is fucking hott 5 stars
8/31/04 Canuck filmmaker Yeah. This one made me want to kill myself. Kee-rist. 1 stars
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  20-Aug-2004 (R)
  DVD: 05-Jul-2005



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