Directed by Todd Phillips
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx
Release Date: November 5, 2010
Ever see a trailer that is so good that you can’t believe the movie could possibly hold up to all your huge expectations and it turns out that it doesn’t? That in a nutshell is Due Date. Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The movie, directed by Todd Philips (The Hangover), is hardly a bad film. It just a film you’ve seen before.
Due Date follows Peter (Robert Downey Jr.), a father-to-be trying to catch a plane back to his wife in Los Angeles. Peter, by chance, meets up with Ethan (Zach Galifianakis), an aspiring actor en route to Los Angeles and the two immediately get off on the wrong foot. Things go from bad to worse when both Peter and Ethan get tossed off their plane (thanks, in large part, to Ethan) and are forced to drive across country together to make their destination.
While there are some funny scenes and bits, Due Date is pretty much a by-the-book buddy comedy. Downey’s Peter is the high strung, typical straight man while Galifianakis’ Ethan, the imbecilic but sweet goof, is his foil. Both rarely see eye to eye and their interactions with each other (much like this movie and the audience) is strained. In the end though, both come out of the experience with a better understanding of the other and even grow to like one another on some level. It is certainly not uncharted territory (the airplane bit is pretty much a distant cousin of the one in Adam Sandler’s Anger Management), but the two leads work their magic to make this film entertaining for the most part.
Downey once again brings his A-game to the party and for once since his Hollywood rebirth, is not playing a character who is charming, flawed, and a rogue. Peter is anything but. He is certainly more flawed (much of the film when he is not passive aggressive, he is a borderline bully), but he is in essence, a loving husband trying to get back to his wife. Plus, if you happen to be traveling with Galifianakis’ Ethan, it is hard not to lose your cool.
Galifianakis doesn’t stretch his acting muscles too much as Ethan. He is playing the same socially awkward, zany character he usually plays. He is quick to deliver a laugh and does it with ease. There were one or two serious moments that he played with conviction, so much so that I would hope he considers branching out into dramas. He clearly has some dramatic talent in him and I would hate to see him squander that.
If you are a fan of either actor, or even a fan of The Hangover, you will find Due Date to be an amusing, if not entertaining, way to spend a movie night. The comedic situations and overall story might not have the same kick as The Hangover did, but you will leave the theaters satisfied.