Nov. 15, 2010
4.5 out of 5
Comedy can be a difficult genre to review. Not everyone has the same sense of humor, so “Due Date” can either make your eyes roll or your stomach hurt from laughter. My reaction was somewhere in-between. While “Due Date” is different than director Todd Phillips’ last movie, “The Hangover,” it is a comedy immersed in emotions.
“Due Date” focuses on Peter Highman (Robert Downey, Jr.), a high-strung architect whose wife is due to give birth in less than a week. When Peter attempts to fly to Los Angeles and be at his wife’s side for the delivery, he lands himself on the no-fly list after meeting aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis). Out of options, Peter is forced to go on a cross-country road trip with Ethan, his dog Sonny, and the coffee can containing the ashes of Ethan’s recently deceased father.
For a road trip movie, “Due Date” is nothing new. Peter and Ethan have predictable adventures consisting of car crashes, random pit stops and run-ins with the law. Thankfully, “Due Date” is made memorable because of the cast rather than the plot. Peter is a wet rag throughout the movie, but Downey, Jr. still manages to make his character a laughable, frustrated wreck. Downey, Jr. gets multiple opportunities to show off his comedic chops, and he takes advantage of every single one.
Galifianakis was even more impressive in this film. He portrays Ethan with a perfect balance of obnoxiousness and vulnerability, the latter of which shines when he mourns his father’s death. Galifianakis is a natural comedian, and I only wish he would pick up more roles that boast his skills in drama. Nevertheless, Galifianakis makes a name for himself as a serious actor. He depicts a likeable character facing a very real and somber fear: loneliness. No matter how cruelly Peter treats him or his dog, Ethan endures for the sake of company.
“Due Date” explores the relationship between two seemingly different people; through their adventures they realize they are more alike than first believed. Combine that with lots of laughs—mostly had at Peter’s expense—and you have paved the way to a predictable, but fun ending. Give “Due Date” your consideration at the box office as it is just as funny as it is heartrending.
Starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Galifianakis
R for language, drug use and sexual content