Due Date Directed by: Todd Phillips Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Juliette Lewis, Jamie Foxx, Danny McBride, Michelle Monaghan Running Time: 1 hr 40 mins Rating: R Release Date: November 5, 2010
PLOT: A man (Downey Jr.) rushing to get home to his almost in-labor wife (Monaghan) embarks on a wild impromptu road trip with an aspiring TV actor named Ethan (Galifianakis) after they are both put on the "No-Fly" List.
WHO'S IT FOR? Fans of The Hangover will be more welcoming to the rampant stupidity of Due Date, but even they will agree that the previous Todd Phillips/Galifianakis pairing wasn't as overly lazy as this one.
EXPECTATIONS: With Galifianakis given more of a main role as opposed to his utilization in The Hangover, I was hoping that this film would give him plenty of leeway to present himself as a comedic force with serious unique potential. However, proud usage of the dead-horse phrase "You'd better check yourself - before your wreck yourself" in both the trailer and poster had me worried about the creativity (or lack thereof) that would go into much of the film's humor.
Robert Downey Jr. as Peter Highman: He's an a**hole struggling to not to explode in a world of weirdos. In a few scenes, Highman's ticking-bomb nature makes for a guffaw or two when his anger becomes physical - especially against a snotty kid in the first act. For the rest of Due Date, Peter is highly dislikable as his motions towards being less of a jerk are slow-evolving and insincere. Downey Jr. isn't able to give Peter the turn around to ultimately make him agreeable, however flawed. Score: 3
Ethan Tremblay as Zach Galifianakis: “Fat man fall down, fat man say dumb thing” – this is what the wonderfully witty Galifianakis is reducing himself to (watch his “Between Two Ferns” series on FunnyOrDie.com for verification). Ethan is overwhelmingly stupid, beyond the limit that any comedic sidekick should be. He’s more the concoction of writers hoping to be as random-funny as possible than a person an audience could potentially identify with. His sayings, which include “I’m allergic to waffles … don’t take me to a Waffle House!” echo something pointlessly performed by Tom Green as opposed to genuine comedy. Galifianakis is gifted with the ability to cry almost on queue, which might explain why he does it three times. This utilization backfires on Due Date, however, as it makes Ethan’s subplot about his father’s ashes in a coffee can quite uncomfortable. When he accidentally drinks some of his father’s ashes, Ethan’s humor truly becomes poor taste. The fake actor’s headshots are the only truly funny element to this performance. Score: 4
Rest of cast: Jamie Foxx drops in for an awkward referencing to The Soloist, and Juliette Lewis exists to be a drug dealer who doesn't get Ethan's over-long Godfather reference. Danny McBride is slightly amusing as a veteran who would rather leave work and get to Chili's than serve Peter and Ethan. Score: 3
TALKING: Due Date does not get any more desperately dumb than its dialogue, which constantly has Galifianakis muttering weak quips that are more lame to a cellular level than they are remotely funny. After Ethan pretends to drive away from Peter in the beginning, Ethan's extremely clever response is "JK, LOL." The list goes on while the laughs seriously lack. Score: 2
SIGHTS: It wouldn't be a road movie without a sequence where the main characters do drugs, right? That's included. What the movie runs short on is American scenery. A lot of their journey is spent on the highway, or at random rest-stops. The Grand Canyon is thrown in at the end with a gasping aerial shot, but it's too little, too late. Score: 3
SOUNDS: Wolfmother, Mims, and other various musicians have their sort-of memorable songs used during scenes that segway the film into its next scenario. Somewhat foreshadowing the attitude of the movie, Billy Currington's all-American tune "People are Crazy" is heard in the background during the duo's first chow-down at a Waffle House. Score: 5
BEST SCENE: Peter's unexpected "Falcon Punch" to a youngster brought the biggest laugh in the entire theater, and marked one of the only surprising yet effective jokes in the entire movie.
ENDING: The two and a half men reach their destination, with new journeys of maturity now ahead of them.
QUESTIONS: Are these the type of characters Galifianakis really wants to be playing to gain mainstream notoriety? Isn't he a bit more capable than fat man jokes? And why do people still think "check yourself before you wreck yourself" is still funny?
REWATCHABILITY: Should I have some strange urgency to see this again, I could just watch the trailer on Youtube. Yeah, all the jokes are all there.
Running low on laughs, Due Date is a road-comedy in need of a better itinerary. Downey Jr. plays another a**hole, and Galifianakis continues to dumb down his comedic potential until he's reduced to muttering weak lines like "Mexico ... I thought it said Texaco," and participating in weak slapstick such as the one involving taking out a truck door. Unfortunately, Due Date relies much of its potential on Galifianakis' incredibly forced character. The events that the duo take part in are pretty mild, and their supposedly wacky characteristics aren't able to give their constant car-ride montages much color. Perhaps someone should have told Todd Phillips and co., "You better check yourself - before your wreck yourself."
FINAL SCORE: 4/10