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DUE DATE (2010)

>> Monday, November 15, 2010

JK, LOL, HI - hop in.

To say that I've enjoyed Robert Downey Jr. as an actor is an understatement. Noticing him first in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) and than again in Iron Man and Tropic Thunder in 2008, I began to really like and appreciate his very recognizable acting style. In Stepbrothers (2008), Dale and Brennan get to know each other by asking off the cuff questions. One of the questions they ask each other is "Alright, if you were a chick, who's the one guy you would sleep with?". They answer John Stamos simultaneously. My answer would be Robert Downey Jr. So, it's no surprise that I would not only look forward to seeing Due Date, but that I would also enjoy it.

Due Date is a buddy comedy about a man named Peter (Downey) who is on his way from a work excursion in New York to his home in LA, where his wife is having their first child. As soon as he gets to the airport he begins to have problems at the hand of a chubby, bearded, permed hair fellow named Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis). First Peter's chauffeur loses a door as he's parking (due to Ethan's drunk friend who was dropping him off). Then Peter's bags get lost (due to Ethan inadvertently switching them curbside), and finally Peter is kicked off the plane because Ethan won't pipe down about terrorists and bombs and they both end up on the No Fly List - and since Peter left his wallet and ID on the plane, he is left with no other choice than to hop in with Ethan. Peter does so hesitantly.

That's when the Odd Couple-esque adventure begins, as the two have only three days to get across the country to be there in time for Peter's first child to be born, C-Section style. If you thought the problems at the airport were bad, you`re in a for a few more (and hilarious) doozies. No need for me to go any further. All I could think think to do is talk about the funny situations they get into (including a few decent scenes with Jaimie Foxx and Juliette Lewis) and doing so would be the equivalent to seeing all the funny scenes in a movie while watching it's trailer.

Now obviously we all know Galifianakis from last year`s The Hangover, which was pretty good, but not nearly as funny as a lot of people made it seem. He does his same kind of clueless schtick in Due Date, and it works for the most part. I cite the moment where Ethan and Peter are standing at the edge of Grand Canyon, and Ethan asks Peter "Are you sure it's not man made? I could have sworn that's what I heard...", to which Peter replies "Perhaps you're thinking of the Hoover Dam." Then (because the funny guy always has to get the last word), Ethan deduces "No, I'm not thinking of the Hoover Dam - everybody knows that was built by the Pilgrims!". What a lot of people may find surprising is that Due Date is just as much Downey's movie as it is his bearded co-star - even if Galifianakis is the face publicly associated with the film. Scenes like the one I just mentioned don't work if you don't have Peter constantly telling Ethan to be quiet, shut-up or to stop jacking off in the car.

In short, I am giving Due Date an open door. In the end it has enough heart to weigh against the comedy, and enough shock humour to weigh against the heart. It's a good mix of all. Downey and Galifianakis make just as good a pair as any, and Peter's quick witted, sarcastic attitude plays well off of Ethan's childish nature and bumbling naivety. It's just as funny a movie as The Hangover (which will be it's obvious comparison), and looking into Galifianakis's eyes it's a no-brainer that he's going straight to the top - to the point where you know he'll be playing a pedophile in some Oscar nominated drama in the next five years. You never know - he did handle that baby pretty well in his last film. JK. LOL. HI. Hop in.

*Stills courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

7 comments:

Anonymous November 23, 2010 at 1:51 PM  

I find it hard to believe that you,a proposed movie fanatic, could write a review of this without mentioning the movie that this plot was stolen from: "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles". If this is because you have yet to see said film, I suggest you give it a chance as it is hilarious.

Angry Charlie November 23, 2010 at 2:40 PM  

You actually make a very valid point. Although I have only seen bits and pieces of 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' I am aware of it's general plot and am surprised I didn't think of it either. Than again, there are numerous road trip movies I could have mentioned, but that one is closer to 'Due Date' than any others I can think of. Due Date is still a good movie, obviously, but I am a big supporter of those classics that came first, and will have to check it out. Thanks for the feedback!

Editing Luke November 23, 2010 at 2:44 PM  

Due Date was funny and it had an interesting, if somewhat uneven, mix of jokes. My only criticism would be some of the extremes, like the car crash or breaking through the border. The moments seemed oddly intense in an otherwise realistically set film. The car accident actually felt too dramatic when you saw it to seem funny - I thought they'd cut away to reveal Downey was actually dreaming or something. The moments could've worked, but the severity of the incidents actually took me out of the plot temporarily.

Still, a very funny movie.

And too the Anonymous comment, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is brilliant! It's another great road movie with similar character types, but I'd hardly say the plot was stolen.

Watch Due Date Online December 15, 2010 at 10:31 AM  

Planes, Trains and Automobiles was funnier (and had a better title, too...) In any case, I thought Due Date was very funny at times and predictable at others. But I guess that sums up most Hollywood comedies, no?... :)

Angry Charlie December 15, 2010 at 5:23 PM  

WDDO, I agree. A lot of Hollywood comedies will indeed have the predictable eye-rolling moments thrown in there. While at time I appreciate those jokes, more often then not they prove to come off as more unoriginal each time around and hinder the more unique comedy moments of the film,

Watch Due Date Online December 16, 2010 at 1:11 AM  

Yeah, I'm sometimes really wondering- if they invest so much money on actors etc. why not spend just a little more on script writing... But I guess when we buy tickets we encourage movie makers to continue making mediocre movies. Anyways, thanks for the post and for the answer. :)

Angry Charlie December 16, 2010 at 3:13 PM  

And thank you for the comment! And yes, buying the tickets encourages sales for sure. While I try and avoid the worst comedies of all time, seeing something as pitiful as "Vampires Suck" allowed me to reaffirm my belief that while movies like Due Date may be unoriginal at points, there are movies that just shouldn't exist...

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