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