Two Comedies from New Line
Full of It (December 19/10)
Full of It casts Ryan Pinkston as Sam Leonard, an unpopular high schooler who attempts to make the most of his senior year by lying about everything from his parents' occupations to the car that he drives - with problems ensuing as he wakes up one morning to discover that every lie he told has now come true. It's an appealing premise that's employed to continually underwhelming effect by filmmaker Christian Charles, as the director, working from a script by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, is simply unable to transform the protagonist into a wholeheartedly compelling figure - with Sam's decision to bypass a pretty girl who is legitimately interested in him (Kate Mara's Annie) for a popular girl who doesn't know he exists (Amanda Walsh's Vicki) the tip of the iceberg in terms of the character's misbegotten nature. The ongoing emphasis on unreasonably over-the-top instances of comedy exacerbates the film's less-than-entertaining atmosphere, although, to be fair, Charles has admittedly peppered the proceedings with a handful of chuckle-worthy exchanges and interludes (ie the continued appearance of a dog that literally eats Sam's homework). By the time it enters its tedious Sam-learns-an-important-lesson phase, Full of It has certainly established itself as a particularly frustrating missed opportunity that should've (and could've) been so much better.
Going the Distance
A refreshingly R-rated romantic comedy, Going the Distance follows Justin Long's Garrett and Drew Barrymore's Erin as they meet and fall in love - with the film subsequently (and primarily) revolving around their efforts at sustaining a long-distance relationship. Director Nanette Burstein has infused the early part of Going the Distance with a freewheeling, frequently gut-busting sensibility that proves impossible to resist, with the pervasively affable atmosphere heightened by the palpable chemistry between Long and Barrymore's respective characters. The underlying emphasis on broad comedy contributes heavily to the movie's easy-going vibe, as scripter Geoff LaTulippe has effectively peppered the opening hour with a number of genuinely hilarious sequences and instances of dialogue (ie Garrett recalls that when he was a kid he admired Michael J. Fox and Jason Bateman because of their comparatively small lips). It's worth noting, then, that the film's third-act transformation into a full-fledged romantic drama isn't quite as jarring as it could've been, although Burstein and LaTulippe's decision to stress elements of a decidedly familiar nature (ie the fake break-up) is rather lamentable and does adversely impact the movie's overall effect. Still, Going the Distance is, for the most part, an entertainingly engaging romcom that's often far funnier than one might've expected, and it's certainly impossible not to get a kick out of one or more of the film's scene-stealing supporting performances (with Jason Sudeikis' consistently hilarious turn as one of Garrett's best friends an obvious highlight).