Review by Jack Foley
HAVING struck comedy gold with The Hangover director Todd Phillips hits the skids with follow up road movie comedy Due Date.
Designed as an anti-buddy movie, the film places two mis-matched traveller’s (played by Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galifianakis) on a cross country trip together that will test the sanity of both.
For Downey Jr’s uptight Peter, the need to get home is all the more pressing given that he wants to be able to witness the birth of his first child. Galifianakis’ aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay simply wants company – but seems oblivious to Peter’s loathing of him, particularly as he was to blame for getting them both banned from flying.
On paper, Phillips’ movie should be a blast, especially in light of the talent involved. But where Galifianakis proved to be The Hangover‘s biggest asset, here he’s Due Date‘s biggest liability.
His Ethan Tremblay is such an overly eccentric man-child that he quickly becomes too irritating to like, with much of the ensuing comedy either stemming from the innumerable ways he finds to ruin Peter’s life or Peter’s subsequent put downs.
But even then, Phillips leans towards the really mean spirited while pushing the bad taste element a little too close to the line. Gags involving spitting in a dog’s face and punching a child, while ballsy, are sure to divide audiences, while a masturbation sequence feels out of context and unnecessary.
That’s not to say there aren’t laughs to be had but they’re harder won than in The Hangover and much more spaced put.
On the plus side, Downey Jr still provides a commanding presence, effortlessly combining simmering resentment with comic spite, but given the two handed nature of the movie, he’s given too much to carry.
Cameos from the likes of Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis, Danny McBride and even Phillips himself often feel indulgent and unecessary padding.
The overall result is a decidedly hit and miss comedy that sits in the shadow of past Phillips vehicles such as Road Trip and The Hangover, as well as past comedy classics such as Midnight Run and Planes, Trains & Automobiles, which took a similar plot device and did more with them.
Running time: 90mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: February 28, 2011
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