Downey gets all Tremblay with Galifianakis
"Due Date" is a fun movie but it doesn't match up to what you expect from either its director Todd Phillips or stars Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. What I basically mean is that whilst we get a more modern take on a road trip movie, the sort of which has been done countless times before, the edginess of the comedy just doesn't come off. Oh there is some edgy comedy, a dog getting intimate with itself is edgy in anyone's books, but it never becomes a riot of laughs. And sadly that means that whilst you will most likely enjoy "Due Date" you will be left wanting.
With his first child due to be born in L.A. on Friday Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr. - Tropic Thunder) has 5 days to get back, plenty of time. But that is until he meets wannabee actor Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis - The Hangover) and they both get thrown of the flight, put on the "No Fly" list and with Peter's luggage and wallet heading for L.A. without him he needs Ethan's help to get home in time. And if he thought Ethan was annoying to start with he will certainly find him intolerable as they share a cross country drive full of mishaps.
Now I doubt there are many people who haven't seen a road trip movie before, they crop up so often that you wonder why anyone would want to take on trying to breathe life into such a well used idea. But that is what we have with "Due Date" a road trip movie which takes barely anytime to set up the situation of dad to be Peter Highman and wannabee actor Ethan Tremblay becoming unlikely driving buddies, although how they come to be is sort of amusing. The thing is that you sort of know that whilst Peter dislikes Ethan as they are forced to spend time together he will end up liking him and whilst Ethan borders on being a f@ck up you also know that he will at least get something right.
What this means is that "Due Date" is not so much whether Peter and Ethan make it to L.A. in time for the birth of his first child but what happens to them along the way. And to be honest there are plenty of different things which happen to them along the way, you can honestly say that there are some original problems mixed in with some sort of stereotypical ones. But the trouble is that they're not all that funny with sadly more jokes failing than working, well actually failing is a bit harsh as they're just not as funny as you expect. So whilst the scene which features a dog getting intimate with himself is genuinely funny the gags surrounding Ethan carrying his dad's ashes in a coffee can are quite dull. Of course part of the problem is that by nature a road trip movie is nothing more than series of incidents and so the gags which are not as good show up more clearly.
But that is not the only issue which ends up dogging "Due Date" as the characters don't help matters. Now you have to feel for Robert Downey Jr. as he is playing the straight guy and so other than having to act extremely angry doesn't really have much to do, but Peter is such an angry guy at times that you don't warm to him at all. And whilst Zach Galifianakis as Ethan is purposefully meant to be annoying he is so extremely annoying that you don't warm to him either. As such you don't connect to either character, leaving you feeling like an outsider watching in rather than part of what is happening.
What this all boils down to is that "Due Date" whilst not a bad movie is not the riot of laughs that you expect from director Todd Phillips or stars Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. It certainly has some memorable moments of mirth and certainly serves up some original issues which happen on the road trip but it is a case that far too many jokes are not as funny as they should be.