In the end, Due Date is really nothing more than a Planes, Trains and Automobiles rip-off that ultimately fails to impress. While Robert Downey, Jr. and Zack Galifianakis turn in some solid performances, the script just isn’t there to let this stand on par with Todd Phillips’ previous outings The Hangover and Old School. Granted there are undoubtedly some funny moments in Due Date, the rest of the movie just seems to drag on and leaves you rather wanting in comparison to last year’s The Hangover.
With previous hits like Old School and The Hangover, Todd Phillips is quickly making a name for himself in the comedy world. However, with Due Date it appears the director has taken a step back. This movie will most likely end up going the route of School for Scoundrels: providing a few laughs, but ultimately being forgotten.
Downey plays soon-to-be-father Peter Highman. Highman is a high-strung man with anger-management issues who is on a quest to get back to his wife before the birth of their first-born child. However, due to a run-in with a stranger, Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis), Downey is landed on the no-fly list and must find an alternate way home. In a race again time, Highman is forced to catch a ride with Tremblay which leads to all kinds of mayhem and mishaps that risk Highman ever getting home safe…let alone on time.
The premise of the movie, coupled with the starring duo and the director, seems like grounds for a very funny movie. Todd Phillips’ experience in the genre should lend well to the pairing of Downey and Galifianakis. However, at most times, this odd-couple comedy duo is usually just more odd than comedy. I won’t put this on Downey and Galifianakis though. These two turn in solid performances and try their best to carry the film. Unfortunately though, their work is in vain as the material just isn’t there despite their greatest efforts. There are definitely some funny moments (even laugh-out-loud moments), but those are more few and far between than the movie’s idea really promises. This is not at all helped by insensible points in the plot.
Downey’s character puts himself through hell in an effort to get back to his pregnant wife. So, evidently he appears to be a dedicated and promising father. Yet, halfway through the film we’re supposed to overlook and keep that image of his character as he sucker punches some little kid in the gut. This was funny, albeit, and something the little brat deserved. However, it’s not something you’d expect so much from a man that is ultimately setting out on an adventure to grow up and become the responsible father that he apparently wants to be so badly. That aside, there are several other places that just don’t make sense in the movie and seem contrived. Now maybe I’m not up on the law, but evidently carrying a pipe with traces of weed still in it through post-9/11 airport security doesn’t warrant being grounded. How you get through security like that (with only a slap on the wrist and the pipe being confiscated), is beyond me. Moreover, you can get away with that, but talking on a phone and berating the man behind you for saying “bomb” and “terrorist” on the plane is a sure-fire way to get you on that no-fly list. This type of misstep in the plot sums up the movie well for me I think. Where opportunities are presented, Phillips stumbles and seems to bypass them only to march on to other nonsensical routes.
There are some laughs to be had though. From masturbating dogs, to Downey punching a kid or spitting in a dog’s face, to Galifianakis laughing at Downey’s father walking out on him, there are some dark (and sometimes tasteless) moments that prove the comedic chops of these two actors. Downey’s deadpan approach and Zack’s idiocy provide for some nice chemistry on screen and there are several funny one-liners scattered throughout the film. Downey performs well, as usual, as the serious man driven to the edge by Tremblay’s idiocy. Zack is probably as good as he’s ever been in his role as well. Really nailing the irritating idiocy of his man-child character to the point of being annoying.
In the end, though, Due Date has more downs than ups. While there are several laughs to be had, most of these are things we’ve already seen really. Ultimately, everything you’ve seen in the trailers proves to be the best the movie really has to offer. In a bit of a disappointment, the movie didn’t deliver beyond that like I thought it could going into the theater (based on Todd’s other hit movies). Due Date is essentially Planes, Trains and Automobiles modernized with a crude and dark frat boy sense of humor. Despite Downey’s and Zack’s best efforts, Todd Phillips’ latest outing turns out to be just a mediocre buddy-flick that will soon be forgotten.
Source by Josh Lyons