Due Date (2010)

due date IMDb

Due Date is a movie that sounds like it would be great, but fails to deliver. (See what I did there? That lame joke is about the level of laughs you get while watching this actual film. Trust me, this is pretty substandard.)

This movie follows Peter (Robert Downey Jr), a stuffy serious guy just trying to get home to witness the birth of his first child. At the airport he meets Ethan (Zach Galifianakis), a clueless wannabe actor, who gets him thrown off the plane and both put onto the “no fly” list. Ethan agrees to drive Peter from Atlanta to Los Angeles after Peter discovers he left his wallet on the plane. Hilarity (supposedly) ensues as the two fight their way across country before his wife’s water breaks.

To be fair Due Date isn’t entirely unfunny. There are some parts that are very funny, but overall it feels like the movie isn’t living up to its potential. RDJ and Galifianakis are both rehashing parts they’ve played time and again, and it feels really stale here. Jamie Foxx and Michelle Monaghan appear as Peter’s friend and wife respectively, but unfortunately neither receives much screen time. I get that the story is supposed to revolve around the conflict between Peter and Ethan, but why cast Foxx and Monaghan if you’re not going to use their talents? Juliette Lewis and Danny McBride both have memorable cameos, but their scenes feel like they’re there to kill time rather than advance the plot.

I think I had too high of expectations for this. Everything is there that should be, it just doesn’t live up to the hype. This is like Date Night all over again, but with much less likable characters.

Rating: C-

I could almost copy my review for The Campaign here and just replace Will Ferrell with Robert Downey Jr. I really enjoy it when Downey does comedy, he has terrific comedic timing and doesn’t get to use it very often. The Marvel movies have some funny moments, but they are definitely action movies first. It is nice to see Downey in a straight up comedy for a change here. This film takes plenty of cues from the Steve Martin/John Candy classic, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but reinvents that film for today’s generation.

Robert Downey Jr. plays Peter Highman, a father racing home to California from Atlanta to see the birth of his first child. Along the way he meets up with Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis), who causes him to be kicked off his plane and stranded in Atlanta. This odd couple must team up in order to get Peter home for the birth of his child. There are plenty of ups and downs during their journey, mostly due to Ethan’s eccentric behaviour and marijuana addiction.

This film is quite funny. Downey and Galifianakis have terrific chemistry together. Galifianakis plays the role of lovable weirdo so well. You know he is destined to cause problems, but it is very hard not to like him a little bit. Downey is also great as the stressed out father to be who can’t believe his luck to have ended up with an eccentric out of work actor when he should be flying home to see his wife (Michelle Monaghan) and child. There are some fun moments in this film. Robert Downey Jr. has a great scene when Ethan visits a marijuana dealer (Juliette Lewis). Downey’s interaction with the woman’s children is the best scene in the film for me.

This is a strong comedic team up for Downey and Galifianakis. They have great chemistry and while this film is pretty much a retelling of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, there is enough talent among the cast and director Todd Phillips (of The Hangover fame) to make this an enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes.

Rating: B

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