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November 5th, 2010
Film: Due Date
Director: Todd Phillips
Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Robert Downey Jr.
In 30 Seconds: A business man (Robert Downey Jr) has to endure a road trip to LA with an annoying aspiring actor (Zach Galifianakis) to make it home in time to witness the birth of his first child. Strong on laughs, weak on storyline.
It’s a bit hard to see a Todd Phillips film now a days without comparing it to his genius comedy, 2009’s The Hangover. That’s the truth. I think Phillips may have been thinking that, too. Because in Due Date, the director seems to have tried a bit too hard to showcase his ability to make a funny comedy, without really focusing on making great comedy.
He packs the movie with a number of overly laughable scenes and banter, but forgets to weave a developed storyline through it all, making the post-Hangover project almost a filler film to keep himself relevant until the very-anticipated Hangover 2.
In previews and trailers, Due Date shows a lot of potential. Phillips snagged Hangover’s emerging funny-man, Zach Galifianakis, and also threw in Robert Downey Jr, turned up a few notches from his comedic moments in Iron Man.
What a killer threesome.
And in this two-man road trip we find two guys with completely opposite personalities on a trip across the country to Los Angeles. Peter (Downey Jr.) is a father-to-be, planning on flying home to LA to make it in time for the birth of his child, who due in a few days. But Peter’s high-strung personality and coincidental bad luck with an odd-ball aspiring actor named Ethan (Galifianakis), finds him and his new “friend” kicked off the plane and put on a no-fly list.
No wallet. No ID. Nothing. All Peter has is the guy who got him into this mess in the first place, along with Ethan’s rented car and a couple of bucks. Luckily, Peter is offered a ride to LA by the aspiring actor for a road trip that he would never dream of. Ever. An impulsive and annoying co-driver, a car crash due to narcolepsy and an arrest at the Mexican border are only the half of it.
In Due Date, Galifianakis takes on the role of a more experienced and well known comedic actor. His work in films following his breakout role in The Hangover and the success from his online web series Between Two Ferns gives him a more cemented position to carry the film. As a result, this time around most people can actually pronounce his name correctly, unlike preHangover. But I still wouldn’t ask anybody to try and spell it just yet. Robert Downey Jr’s break in-between being a cocky billionaire as Iron Man’s Tony Stark, gives him a great shot at really showing his ability to put his sarcasm and impressive comedic timing to good use. The two actors supply enough laughs to satisfy an audience and Phillips’ direction is one of the main reasons for that.
But the problem is the lack of story development, and focus on characters, which plauges the movie with some drag moments. Looking back at it, Due Date’s funny moments are a bit too spread apart, forcing viewers to follow a loose plot.
Some transitioning scenes are a bit random and the jokes become repetitive, with Galifianakis milking the “diotic little kid syndrome. Robert Downey Jr’s moments start to feel a bit dry after a while. But at the end of the trip, this film will be hilarious to some, and forgettable to others. Here’s hoping Phillips finds the spark for Hangover 2, because let’s face it, that’s all that really matters now.
Verdict: Worth a movie ticket if you’re looking for a few good laughs for the weekend.