ROBERT DOWNEY JR ZACH GALIFIANAKIS MICHELLE MONAGHAN JAMIE FOXX JULIETTE LEWIS
Director Todd Phillips follows up his comedic phenomenon The Hangover with Due Date, carrying over actor Galifianakis, who has become the latest comedy sensation. Phillips seems ready to replace Judd Apatow, who has for some time reigned as the most bankable comedic director. Unlike The Hangover or previous Phillips films like Starsky & Hutch, Golden Globe winning actor Robert Downey Jr. can actually act and has talent, so Due Date is a better film for because of it. The sarcasm and cynicism from Downey is all that saves this movie. It begins strong and ends up a train wreck, which is all too similar to the shenanigans of The Hangover.
Traveling from Atlanta to be with his wife in Los Angeles for the birth of their child, Peter Highman (Downey) is shot with a rubber bullet, escorted off the plane and added to a 'no fly' list due to his conversation with a highly annoying man named Ethan (Galifianakis). His wallet still on the plane, Peter is desperately forced to join Ethan, who is on his way to Hollywood, in order to get to his wife. Their journey across the country is filled with accidents, mishaps, violence and near death caused by Ethan’s ridiculous behavior that drives Peter to the edge more than a few times.
After reviewing Galifianakis in The Hangover, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, and Dinner for Schmucks, his monotonous performances have become a broken record. Galifianakis once again portrays the only role he knows here, but against the talented Downey, who makes the audience feel as if he is rightfully punishing Galifianakis for our enjoyment. When Ethan has to stop in Birmingham, Alabama for marijuana, who else but Oscar nominee Juliette Lewis (Conviction, The Other Sister) could you imagine him purchasing it from. In Alabama is where my favorite scene of the film occurs, as Peter punches a child in the stomach to shut him up. While many might gasp at such a sight, it was pure enjoyment for me. The second best scene, when Peter exclaims “I have never!”, happens when Peter spits in the face of the dog.
When Due Date works, it’s because the contrasting characters approach everything differently. Peter treats situations realistically and responsibly while all of Ethan’s reactions are completely in line with how a ridiculous comedy character would respond. The reality in which the first half of the movie is based is much funnier, but almost the second they get in the wrong lane headed towards Mexico, the movie heads “due” south and goes balls out towards the same kind of behavior I despised in The Hangover. Taking a step back from director Phillips career, he seems obsessed with the road trip genre: The Hangover, Due Date, and Road Trip--not a lot of exploration.
Final Thought – Downey almost saves the movie from Galifianakis trying to ruin it.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Michael Woody