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Due Date

A 2010 movie directed by Todd Phillips.

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Some Road Trips Are Better Left Untaken

  • Nov 10, 2010
Rating:
+3
At the start of "Due Date," Robert Downey, Jr.'s character leaves a message on his pregnant wife's cell phone. He describes a dream he had, one in which a bear chews through his child's umbilical cord immediately after the birth. By the end of the film, he becomes convinced that the dream was prophetic. I became convinced he was deluding himself - or, more accurately, the filmmakers were deluding themselves into believing they had actually pulled off a display of twisted symbolism. The only thing they pull off is an act of desperate contrivance, which comes in the form of an oddity played by Zach Galifianakis. No, not a character. An oddity. When the moment comes and the dream is interpreted, I sank in my seat, realizing that I had endured nearly 100 minutes of lowbrow humor for nothing. There's no payoff, apart from more oddness.

"Due Date" is directed by Todd Phillips, who a year ago helmed "The Hangover" to tremendous box office and critical acclaim. I admit that the film never appealed to my sense of humor, but at least it had an engaging story. Not only does "Due Date" suffer from a plot that's neither original nor interesting, it's also a nonstop barrage of unappealing physical and verbal gags. Many of these are given to Galifianakis, whose character doesn't even work within the context of a vulgar road trip buddy comedy; he's a bizarre goofball caricature that plays on one note - a man defined solely by flat, tiresome, scene-killing quirks. He's so thoroughly off-putting, it's impossible to believe anyone could grow to love him as a friend. In real life, a man like this would be committed to a sanitarium and forced to undergo extensive psychological testing.

Downey plays Los Angeles architect Peter Highman, a father-to-be excited to fly home from Atlanta in time for his child's birth. As soon as he arrives at the airport, he crosses paths with the over-the-top Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis), who, as it turns out, is also on his way to Los Angeles. Specifically, he's on his way to Hollywood; he's an aspiring actor who dreams of making an appearance on "Two and a Half Men." An unlikely luggage mix-up forces both Peter and Ethan off the plane and onto a no-fly list. This forces Peter into hitching a ride with Ethan and his beloved pet dog, Sonny, in a rented car. Thus begins a madcap, disaster ridden cross-country journey, highlighted by such pleasant visuals as the dog masturbating, Peter getting beaten by a surly paraplegic veteran, and Peter punching a young boy in the chest. We're also treated to a run in with corrupt Mexican border-patrol officers, resulting in a car chase that miraculously resolves itself as soon as the scene ends.

Ethan is developed on nothing other than his ability to drive Peter and everyone else he comes into contact with insane. He has no social skills. He's immature, pretty much to the point where it's obvious he has a mental disorder. He regularly smokes marijuana, which he claims is for glaucoma. He dresses like a bum who robbed a thrift store. He has a curious habit of asking incredibly stupid questions, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, and spouting facts and figures that are wrong. He carries his father's ashes in a coffee can. He parades his dog around as if the poor little thing were actually a human friend. He's so utterly unlikable that I simply didn't buy the idea that Peter could ever come to accept him. Perhaps Galifianakis is qualified to play a role like this, but to be perfectly frank, I'm getting tired of seeing him play the same eccentric loony he has been playing pretty much his entire career.

This leaves Downey. While playing the hapless straight man allowed me to like his character a lot more than Galifianakis', I'm wondering if that ultimately contributed to the film's unappealing tone. Comedy has thrived on mismatching (Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, Martin and Lewis), but here, it doesn't feel like a calculated move so much as an unfortunate misdirection. Downey and Galifianakis are so completely ill-fitting together that absolutely nothing they say or do registers as funny - it merely registers as awkward.

The same can be said about the story, which draws in the audience not through a genuinely intriguing series of events but by appealing to our inner immature teenager. Crude movies can be hilariously enjoyable, but there has to be something more to it other than crudeness, if you get my meaning; there needs to be an engaging plot, good characters, and a clever screenplay. This movie falls short in every respect. Consider a brief subplot involving Jamie Foxx, who plays Peter's best friend. When Peter suspects him of something terrible, we expect it to be integral to the rest of the film. But it isn't. In fact, it's resolved almost as soon as it begins. That begs the question of why this particular subplot was included in the first place. I suspect it was only because it gave Downey and Foxx the chance to work together again following "The Soloist." "Due Date" tries and tries hard, but unfortunately, it just doesn't have what it takes to be a comedy classic.

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November 12, 2010
This movie has been getting mixed reviews but yours have sealed the deal that this is a rental when I read: "The same can be said about the story, which draws in the audience not through a genuinely intriguing series of events but by appealing to our inner immature teenager. Crude movies can be hilariously enjoyable, but there has to be something more to it other than crudeness, if you get my meaning; there needs to be an engaging plot, good characters, and a clever screenplay". Excellent review!
 
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More Due Date (2010 movie) reviews
review by . March 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Due Date is possibly the nastiest and most unpleasant film experience of the year, consistently confusing comedy with cruelty, and it may continue to rank as one of the cruelest films of all time (at least until the Farrelly Brothers write another script).      If you've seen Planes, Trains & Automobiles, it's basically the same thing but without any of the warm, depth or charm. Irredeemable asshole Peter Highman, "acted" by Robert Downey Jnr, is trying …
review by . August 01, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****     "Due Date" is a mediocre follow-up to a fairly-solid film; that being Todd Phillip's "The Hangover", which was like an insane carnival of twisted, warped laughter. It took advantage of its Las Vegas setting and let its characters run wild; but without showing us how they took their precious little time about it. For the most time, they're just bumbling idiots.    "Due Date" takes a similar approach; but instead of three men in the "wolf …
review by . November 07, 2010
A PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES for a new generation (but far less successful), DUE DATE delivers many solid laughs, but is sloppy and unmoving.    Robert Downey Jr. is an uptight architect working away from home in Atlanta. He's got a ticket to fly back home, because his wife (Michelle Monaghan) is scheduled to deliver their first child in just a few days. Zack Galifianakis is the strange, troublesome guy who utterly messes up his plans…and the two are forced to embark on a road …
review by . November 05, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Past Due
DUE DATE   Written by Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland, Adam Sztykiel and Todd Phillips   Directed by Todd Phillips   Starring Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis and Michelle Monaghan      Ethan Tremblay: "Two and a Half Men" is the reason I wanted to become an actor - especially the second season.      Todd Phillips has been making male no-brainer comedies for quite some time now, with varied results.  In 2008, …
review by . November 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Director Todd Phillips, the creator of "Old School" and "The Hangover" thought he could pull another "classic" by casting the Hollywood's Playboy at this moment, Robert Downey Jr. and the hilarious comedian Zach Galifianakis. Great cast but not that great story. The typical "glam meets nerd" has been done tens of times before and I really though this approach would be different but it just didn't worked that well. I'm not suggesting that this movie …
review by . May 20, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Robert Downey Jr how you break my heart. Not even my love for you can save me from the pains in which you inflicted upon me during Due Date.  Not even my love for the obseenly odd Zach Galifianakis spared me a pain that could only rival that of child birth.  OK, that is probably a bit of a stretch, but I think you get what I am trying to say. In true Todd Phillips (director) style, this film fits right in with Old School and The Hangover.  Although not as good as The Hangover, Due …
review by . March 07, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Caption
Comedies these days  are more common than a two-legged dog. Every year, every month,  every day a new comedy releases in theaters  some are funny some are less than funny  and then there are those rare comedies that are so god-awful, so nasty, so cruel so shamelessly unfunny that after seeing it you  absolutely cringe at the slightest mention of the name of the film. Todd Philips' "Due Date" is such a comedy, a comedy that takes no shame in ripping off one …
review by . November 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
It's about time that a Planes Trans and Automobiles remake was
Okay, stop me if you heard this one: a fussy straight faced white collar guy ends up spending an excruciating trek across the country with a talkative blue collar slob and they slowly but surely end up best friends.  I think John Hughes made it...........Steve Martin has an F Bomb tyraid in it...........yeah.  Sans Trains, this movie really felt like familiar ground. Initially when I saw this movie being advertised all I really thought of as soon as I saw "brought to you by the …
Quick Tip by . April 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I seem to be one of the few people who found the characters in this film to be so unpleasant that they were sort of lovable. Oh well, I also think Oscar the Grouch is sweet.      From the guys who made the uproariously funny and politically incorrect film The Hangover comes another film (perhaps more politically incorrect and certainly less funny) Due Date. The story is very straight forward and for the most part entirely predictable, but this is an American comedy and they haven't …
review by . November 11, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   A lot of hyperboles are used for laughter in a theater on the box art or in a review for a comedy film. My fellow film journalists may write “I laughed until I cried!” or “I laughed until my sides hurt!” However, during my screening of Due Date, one of my friends I was watching the film with literally fell out of his seat and folded up like a lawn chair after hearing one of the many perfectly executed jokes in Todd Phillips’ new comedy. To tell you the …
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Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #5
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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Director Todd Phillips re-teams with his break-out Hangover star Zach Galifianakis for this road movie concerning a soon-to-be father (played by Robert Downey Jr.) and his cross-country trip to make it back in time for his baby's birth -- with the only roadblock being the dubious passenger (Galifianakis) who's along for the ride. Michelle Monaghan and Jamie Foxx co-star in the Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures production.


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    Details

    Director: Todd Phillips
    Release Date: 5 November 2010
    MPAA Rating: R
    First to Review

    "Past Due"
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