No one ever talks about it, because no one ever actually saw it, but the 2010 romantic-comedy Going the Distance is a really good romantic comedy. The cast was absolutely stacked, featuring Drew Barrymore, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Christina Applegate, Ron Livingston, Jim Gaffigan, June Diane Raphael, and Natalie Morales, among others. Charlie Day is absolutely fantastic in it, and as I wrote in my review at the time, “much of Going the Distance feels like an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia awkwardly stitched together with a rom-com.” It was not an insult.
Going the Distance opened with less than $7 million on its way to a piddling $17 million domestic run. Justin Long still attributes the dramatic downswing in his career to the failure of that movie, and director Nanette Burstein hasn’t made a feature film since. It’s a shame, too, because they — and writer Geoff LaTulippe — all deserved a better reception.
Ten years later, and Justin Long is now hosting a podcast, and on this week’s episode, Long had his old pal from Going the Distance on the show, Charlie Day. It’s a great episode, as the two ruminated at length about their time on the set of Going the Distance, as well as Charlie Day’s many successes since.
Over the course of the podcast, however, the box-office failure of Going the Distance came up, and as something of the face of that movie, Long obviously felt some responsibility for its failure (the reality is, romcoms were already on their way out, and if Netflix had been then what it is today, Going the Distance would have been a huge hit). The weekend after it bombed, however, Justin Long attended a Labor Day party at producer Adam Shankman’s house, where he ran into Adam Sandler.
The thing about Adam Sandler is, he knows how to make a hit romcom with Drew Barrymore. He’s made three: The Wedding Singer, 50 First Dates, and Blended. He obviously knows a little of what he’s talking about, so when he tried to explain to Justin Long what went wrong, Long listened.
“Hey buddy,” Sandler said to him at the party. “I saw the movie you did there with Drew. And you were good, but your body, buddy. Your body. That’s not a comedy body.”
“What do you mean?” Long asked.
“Did you work out for that movie?” Sandler asked him, and Long said he had, because he was playing the lead and he wanted to look good opposite Drew Barrymore. “Yeah, yeah,” Sandler continued. “You shouldn’t [work out], buddy. No one wants to laugh at a guy who is ripped.”
“He is right!” Charlie Day agreed. “There is some truth to that, but,” he added, there is an exception to the rule. “Ben Stiller, he was always weirdly ripped. Anytime he popped his shirt off, you’d be like, ‘Wow, you’re in great shape, man.’ And he was always funny, in everything he ever did … but ultimately, Sandler is right. Cause I always thought, if I got really fat, it would help my career,” Day continued.
To wit, Day added, Rob McElhenney was “always a lot funnier,” in the season of It’s Always Sunny when he got really fat. “And then in the season when he got really ripped, he’s still very good. He’s just not as funny.” The reason why, Day added, is what “we like about funny people is that they make us feel better about the things we are insecure about ourselves.”
In other words, Fat Mac basically proves the Adam Sandler rule of comedy: Don’t get ripped.
Source: Life is Short with Justin Long