Due Date was a slight disappointment only because Robert Downey Jr. has been on such a role with the Iron Man movies and Sherlock Holmes where he showed just how damn funny he is, but here I thought his character was a bit too much of a douche coupled with Galifianakis who came across as too obnoxious making for a double whammy of annoyance. The film does have some funny moments and although Jamie Foxx’s cameo is a bit of waste, I still give the film at least a moderate recommendation if only to see the two stars face off with one another.
Due Date (2010)
Warner Bros. | R – 95 min. – $28.98 | February 22, 2011
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Writer(s): Alan R. Cohen & Alan Freedland (story), Alan R. Cohen & Alan Freedland and Adam Sztykiel & Todd Phillips (screenplay)
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Juliette Lewis, Jamie Foxx
Theatrical Release Date: November 5, 2010
Features: Gag Reel
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
THE MOVIE – 3.25/5
Thanks to the phenomenal and unexpected comedy hit The Hangover, Zach Galifianakis has become somewhat of a hot commodity that he’s now seemingly everywhere, for better or worse. This also goes for Todd Phillips who had some success writing and directing some now cult classics like Road Trip and Old School (and I guess Starsky & Hutch might a solid fan base). Now we get Due Date, a film that is an unabashed rip-off/homage to the 1987 John Hughes classic, Planes, Trains & Automobiles.
Just like PT&A, Due Date follows the misadventures of two schmucks forced together in some unforeseeable events. Peter Highman (ROBERT DOWNEY JR.) is the Steve Martin role, an uptight businessman desperate to get home before the birth of his first son when he meets the destructive force of Ethan Tremblay (GALIFIANAKIS) – John Candy – a man who is lost in life after the death of his father. He wants to make his way west for a couple of reasons: 1) to spread his father’s ashes – which he’s keeping in a Folgers Coffee canister – over the Grand Canyon and 2) make it to Hollywood and become an actor.
So, how did these two misfits get together in the first place? Well, after bumping into one another outside the airport for which Ethan was a bit bullish and Peter was rude, the two are actually on the same flight! Oh, even better, while Peter is in business class seating, because of some seat mix-up, Ethan got bumped up from economy. You can guess what happens, after Peter becomes peeved that Ethan is using the words “bomb” and “terrorist”, the air marshal on the plane thinks they are in need of investigating as he and Ethan are taken off the flight.
Of course, Peter misses his plane and cannot get another one because he has been placed on the no-fly list. Oh, and the double whammy? His luggage is still on that flight… WITH HIS WALLET! Without his wallet and ID, he can’t rent a car, has no money and no way to get money since wire transfers require identification. In some more coincidences, who should happen to ride by as Peter is frustrated with being unable to get back home? Yep, Ethan has managed to get a car rental and since he’s headed to L.A., that they share a ride. After some hesitation, and out of desperation, Peter agrees. The trip gets off to a rocky start and only gets more hectic as the duo stop off at a drug house, get help from Peter’s wife’s ex-boyfriend and pro athlete (JAMIE FOXX), somehow get off the wrong exit and head to the Mexico border – during which Peter is high as a kite –, steal a Federales’ vehicle (after their own is impounded), and somehow make it back to the States.
We all pretty much know the end game with these road trip comedies but as with anything in the genre, it’s all about the laughs and characters as to whether or not a movie is a success. Admittedly, on the first point, Due Date does have some good laughs here and there although it’s mostly obvious and sight jokes than anything else and it’s rarely a hilarious laugh-out-loud kind either.
To the second point, the characters much like their PT&A counterparts, can be and are in fact tend to be annoying and obnoxious with a tinge of douche-baggery for Mr. Downey Jr. thrown in for good measure. This is where I knock the film down a notch because where PT&A excelled was that at its core there’s a good heart and you could feel for both of the characters and by the end you felt they both changed during their journey. While indeed both Downey and Galifianakis found some change in their character by the end, I still couldn’t believe they’re friends. This isn’t really the fault of either actor but instead how they are written on the page, so that comes down to four writers which includes director Todd Phillips so that’s probably where the most blame lies.
With all that said, I will admit Due Date isn’t a particularly bad film per se, just one that will entertain and give you some laughs during its short 90-minute running time (sans credits) but is also ultimately forgettable which is a shame because both Downey Jr. and Galifianakis are on top of their game right now (well, at last RDJ is). Would I recommend this film? Yeah, I give it a slight one especially if you’ve enjoyed Phillips’ previous endeavors as well, otherwise it might be a movie you’d want to rent first.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1/5
Gag Reel (6:31) – This is a lengthy set of line flubs, cases of the giggles and everything you would expect when you get the two stars in the same scene together.
VIDEO – 3.5/5
Due Date is presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and looks pretty standard for a DVD transfer. There’s plenty of pixilation from time to time especially some of the more distant shots while close-ups tend to look a little better.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track isn’t anything special but gets the job done: dialogue levels are clear from beginning to end while the score and the occasional choice songs make good use out of the other channels.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Due Date was a slight disappointment only because Robert Downey Jr. has been on such a role with the Iron Man movies and Sherlock Holmes where he showed just how damn funny he is, but here I thought his character was a bit too much of a douche coupled with Galifianakis who came across as too obnoxious making for a double whammy of annoyance. The film does have some funny moments and although Jamie Foxx’s cameo is a bit of waste, I still give the film at least a moderate recommendation if only to see the two stars face off with one another, otherwise this might be best served as a rental before laying down any cash.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman