Director Todd Philips follow-up to the unbelievably successful Hangover is a re-imagining of the Steve Martin– John Candy classic: Planes, Trains and Automobiles. But this time itâ€™s Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galafanakis taking the main leads. Due Date is a Road trip comedy Â as most of Todd Philipsâ€™ filmography where Robert Downey, who plays a grumpy architect, needs to get to his wifeâ€™s delivery room in time for the birth of his first son. But that is until his paths cross with Ethan, a hapless wanna-be actor travelling to LA, a man who has quirks galore.
No matter what the publicity machine says, Due Date is certainly not the funniest movie of the year. I would go as far as to say it only has a handful of jokes. I think I counted 5.
There is a general consensus that Robert Downey Junior is awesome in everything he does but in Due Date he is relegated to playing the straight man to the quirky Galafanakis who plays his usual self with some added campiness that is never directly addressed. Ethan (ZG) wants to go to â€œHollywoodâ€ to work in Two and a Half Men which is his favorite show and he carries a masturbating dog in his handbag.
There are quite a few gags set up that go nowhere and the comedic beats are very uneven. Some jokes start off as moderately entertaining but end up with a melodramatic punch line which just leaves the audience confused. Even the cameos from the likes of Danny McBride (Kenny Powers from Eastbound and Out) have no real pay off.
After the initial ruckus on the flight, the duo land up near the Mexican border playing on some themes from recent news stories i.e. paranoia of airline security or hardened stance on Mexican immigration but the writers have chosen to go for gross out moments instead of trying to say anything of relevance or funny.
The movie relies on the chemistry between the leads and the main leads are clearly enjoying themselves unfortunately this is not the case for the audience leaving. The remaining cast members are Â un-etched characters. Michele Monaghan plays the exact same role as the bride in the Hangover which is screaming on the phone and asking where Downey Jrâ€™s character is and why he isnâ€™t arrived where he was supposed to.
The one positive I did take from the movie is that Galafankis is a competent dramatic actor especially in a few scenes where he has to show heart and doesnâ€™t hide behind they quirkiness and weirdness. Too bad the audience wasnâ€™t expecting this and laughed when they maybe werenâ€™t intended to. (but then again who am I to judge when you should or should not laugh)
You will forget everything about Due Date the moment you leave the theaters and maybe thatâ€™s for the best.
Go watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles or even Between Two Ferns Zach Galafanakis webseries in you want more laughs!
- ‘Due Date’: The Reviews Are In! (mtv.com)
- The Hangover Director Todd Phillips on His New Film, Due Date (time.com)
- Movie Review – Due Date (***1/2) (chicagonow.com)