Who's In It: Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate, Ron Livingston, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jim Gaffigan
The Basics: He works for a record label in New York, unhappily, and is forced to ignore the boring indie bands he thinks are so great and instead scout the next Jonas Brothers. She goes to graduate school and wants to--and eventually does--work for a newspaper in San Francisco. This means they're both doomed, careerwise. They realize that these jobs are soon to be chopped out of existence for all time, but their dogged insistence on maintaining them is meant to show you what romantics they are and why you should care for the fate of their long-distance relationship. Fortunately, these two people are the very likeable Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, who are actually on-again-off-again doing it in real life (and it shows) so you sort of wind up rooting for them in spite of their characters being somewhat knuckleheadish.
What's The Deal: I find myself grading romantic comedies on a weird curve and against strange criteria like "How gross would I find these two people in real life?" or "How much do they represent everything I despise?" or "How fakely feminist is it when the actual message underneath is OHMYGODIHAVETOGETMARRIEDRIGHTNOW?" or "How condescending is it to the sole wise-advice-giving and sassy black and/or gay and/or artist and/or slut friend?" or "How blithely rich are they so that they so they can spend all their time dissecting petty cellphone-related misunderstandings?" This one passes most of those tests and comes out on the plus side of the pro/con column. Not by too much. But enough for a movie getting dumped into theaters on Labor Day Weekend.
When It's at Its Funniest: When they want to be as dirty as a Judd Apatow movie. It's rated R, so they say the f-word a lot and they do the f-word a lot and Drew Barrymore yells at big goony guys to "s" her "d." That's adorable because she's Drew Barrymore and when she's saying naughty stuff it's like she's saying it to E.T. I can't help but always think that. Anyway, though the raunchy stuff feels sort of shoehorned in, the inappropriate gear-shift from the main theme of economic-crunch-keeps-two-cute-adults-apart to the sub=theme of random penis jokes doesn't make it any less funny.
When It's a Pain: When Long goes for a wacky tanning session. (It gets in his eyes and mouth!) At some point there will be an Oscar clip reel of all the yawningly unfunny tanning mishap sequences from comedies of the past 15 years, but not until we endure a lot more of them. That's my fear. When I'm elected king of everything I promise to declare an eternal ban. It's also annoying that the lead characters possess a mutual inability to think of doing their jobs online as a viable and geographically freeing means of employment even once during the whole movie. I kept wishing for Regina Hall from Scary Movie to show up at the press screening and yell, "GIRL THEY GOT THE INTERNET NOW!" in her best "Shake-uh-spear In Love" voice.
Best Viewed: On cable in about six months, when it won't feel like you're trapped in someone else's prolonged bout of indecision.