For a documentary, Nanette Burstein's American Teen felt awfully scripted. But it had a pulse, and characters you could invest in.
For her first explicitly fictional feature, she's filmed one of those mythically hot, unproduced screenplays. And if the Top Gun references and bustling newsrooms are anything to go by, Geoff LaTulippe's script must have sat long buried in dust — which might also explain its filthy dialogue.
Erin and Garrett (possible real-life couple Drew Barrymore and Justin Long) are thirtysomethings toiling in uncertain careers — print journalism and the music biz. Their unexpected six-week romance in New York becomes a long-distance relationship once Erin's newspaper internship ends and she heads back to San Francisco to live with her overprotective sister (Christina Applegate) and finish up school.
If you've no frequent-flier miles, there's little need to go the distance with this bumpy ride.