Sunday, December 26, 2010

Due Date

Year: 2010
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx

There was an old comedy called Planes, Trains & Automobiles where Steve Martin and John Candy played two mismatched guys stuck with each other as they made their way home. I never saw that film, but Due Date is said to be a lot like that.

In this film, Robert Downey Jr plays Peter Highman, a father-to-be on his way home from Atlanta to Los Angeles to make it for his child's birth. At the airport, he bumps into Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis), an aspiring actor, and they subsequently get their luggage mixed up. Things get worse when on the plane, Ethan inadvertently gets himself and Peter thrown out because of a misunderstanding with the air marshal.

Now being put on the No Fly List, Peter has no other way home, except to hitch a ride with Ethan in a rented car. With Ethan being a weed smoker, carrying a bulldog and add Ethan's annoying attitude, Peter is gonna have one long trip ahead of him, and one full of mishaps too.

Director Todd Phillips was at the helm of The Hangover, last year's hit comedy which also starred Galifianakis. I plan on seeing that on cable soon. Here in Due Date, the usual jokes come forth: slapstick, low brow and a lot of accidental injuries. Most of them only made me snigger, and not because they were badly executed, but because it's nothing new. There were a few good ones, like the one where Peter punches a kid in the gut for yanking on his tie, which I know would be rather controversial as to whether it's funny or outrageous, but I think Downey pulled that one off well without making it look bad.

Speaking of Downey, he does a good job here as Peter. He sounds a lot like Tony Stark, except he's not very nice. In fact, Peter is a very unlikable guy who is prone to losing his temper and insulting people without flinching, which kinda makes it tough for us to sympathise with him. But at the very least, Downey manages to show Peter's caring side when the scene calls for it. He is balanced off perfectly by Galifianakis, who gives Ethan a certain air of lovable quality, even though he isn't the smartest of people. The best way to describe Ethan is to picture that guy you sit next to on a bus or train, and he goes on and on about himself, being very earnest but not knowing if we want to hear him talk that much. THAT'S the guy Ethan is. The duo's budding friendship as the story progresses, through every painful and embarrassing situation is the driving force of the picture.

Jamie Foxx and Juliette Lewis make short appearances as Peter's best friend and a drug dealer respectively, and they're not too shabby. But I didn't like the inclusion of Danny McBride as the disgruntled Western Union employee that beats Peter up. That attempt at humour is rather overused in films like these, it just didn't work for me.

Overall, it's a decent attempt at comedy about a mismatched duo, just don't expect much else. (3.5/5)

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