REVIEW: Due Date

29 11 2010

The straight man-fat man road trip routine has been done before (see “Planes, Trains & Automobiles”), but just because John Hughes milked that cow first doesn’t mean he milked it dry.  There’s still plenty of humor left in the sub-genre, and “Due Date” manages to find quite a bit of it.  With Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis in great comic form, director Todd Phillips of “The Hangover” fame makes a movie that really delivers in the laugh department.

All plausibility is thrown out the window as Peter (Downey) makes an all-too-difficult return voyage home to Los Angeles for the birth of his child.  Each step of the way is only made more challenging by aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis), a magnet for disaster with no filter blocking thoughts from words.  As they traverse across America with a coffee can of his father’s ashes and his carry-on sized pooch Sonny, Ethan’s ineptitude makes sure Peter won’t arrive prematurely for the due date of his wife (Michelle Monaghan).

The situations are fairly well-crafted, ranging from a grumpy Western Union employee played by the always hilarious Danny McBride to Jamie Foxx as a smooth-talking Texan football player.  There are also plenty of conflicts with national security from the TSA to Border Patrol to keep things interesting too.

But what saves “Due Date” from being average and raises it to the level of decent entertainment is the talent of its stars Downey and Galifianakis.  They inject the movie with their hilariously polar opposite personalities, and their sheer presence is enough to garner multiple outrageous bursts of laughter.  Galifianakis particularly lights up the screen with his dynamite energy, and he shows that his ability to spin little lines into comedic gold is not limited to the character Alan in “The Hangover.”  With him in full gear, there’s no shortage of laughs here.  Cheap, sure, but nonetheless, laughs.  B



6 responses

30 11 2010

The two leads try their hardest to do what they can with this type of material, The problem is that the material, is just not very funny, and really really lazy, especially when you know that’s it from the guys who did The Hangover, one of the biggest comedies of all-time!

30 11 2010

This movie is a rip off (and a not great one) of a much better film. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles starring Steve Martin and John Candy, does everything this movie does, but better.

1 12 2010

I’m not claiming that it is better; if I graded PT&A on the same scale, it would probably get an A-. But just because there’s a better version of something doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy its cheap knock-off. I’d much prefer to drink a Coke, but if a restaurant only has Pepsi, I’ll take it just for the buzz of carbonation and sugar. Same goes for “Due Date” – I know it’s not as good, but I’ll take the laughs because most of 2010 comedy hasn’t even delivered in the remotest of senses.

3 12 2010

I see what you’re saying. At the same time though, the last part of what you said has always been something that has bothered me about some reviews. It’s just strange the way standards get lowered based on the other films that have come out. Although in general, I think it mostly happens with comedies. They said the same thing about “The Other Guys.” They said that it was just okay, but given the weak comedies so far in the year, it was the only funny thing in the summer. I dunno, just a thought, I know that that doesn’t really have to do with PTA, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about. Why don’t we just keep one standard for movies? If there was a year where all the movies sucked, shouldn’t we just say they all sucked? Rather than try to praise the ones that suck slightly less? None of that is a specific commentary on movies this year, just hypothetical randomness.

1 12 2010
Paragraph Film Reviews

With you on this on Marshal. This film would have been such a massive flop had it starred anyone other than these two. RDJ is on-screen gold these days and ZG gets the chance to play a fleshed-out Alan from the Hangover.

Good stuff, although the trailer marred it for me.

2 12 2010

Nice write-up, Marshall. I felt like the more frantic moments like the border patrol scene and other instances played like industry standards and detracted from the impact of the film more than they added. Then again, without the aforementioned scene there really wouldn’t be any compelling reason for the two to become as close as the do in such a short period of time. Perhaps the story of this film, as with other similar pictures, is one of rushed justifications for making it at all embedded in the screenplay.

If you’re interested in how I’ve rated it, here’s a link to my review:

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