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Warner Bros. Pictures / Production Co.
MPAA Rating: R FOR LANGUAGE, DRUG USE AND SEXUAL CONTENT
Run Time: 95 minutes
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Juliette Lewis, and Jamie Foxx
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Written by: Alan R. Cohen & Alan Freedland and Adam Sztykiel & Todd Phillips from a story by Cohen & Freedland
Produced by: Todd Phillips and Dan Goldberg
Executive Produced by: Thomas Tull, Susan Downey and Scott Budnick
From director Todd Phillips, “Due Date” stars Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis as two unlikely companions who are thrown together on a road trip that turns out to be as life-changing as it is outrageous. Downey plays Peter Highman, an expectant first-time father whose wife’s due date is a mere five days away. As Peter hurries to catch a flight home from Atlanta to be at her side for the birth, his best intentions go completely awry when a chance encounter with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis) forces Peter to hitch a ride with Ethan—on what turns out to be a cross-country road trip that will ultimately destroy several cars, numerous friendships and Peter’s last nerve.
The behind-the-scenes creative team from “The Hangover” returns, including director of photography Lawrence Sher, production designer Bill Brzeski, editor Debra Neil-Fisher, costume designer Louise Mingenbach and costumer Christophe Beck.
J.P.'s Quick Take:
Peter Highman (Robert Downey, Jr.) has just run into the most inept person he has ever met. For Mr. Highman meeting Ethan "Chase" Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) is like meeting Homer Simpson at a clown convention. And their journey together has only just begun.
Todd Phillips (director of “Road Trip,” “Old School,” “The Hangover”) returns with yet another off the wall comedy, by which no means is a brain-teaser, nor will you carry away anything of intellectual value what so ever. But what you will experience is a blitz of simple screwball antics -- set out to keep your eyeballs glued to the big screen. You really can’t help but to laugh at such an irreverent movie, with characters such as Ethan who is really the catalyst for crazy situations to jump off from. Some moviegoers may find certain stunts and slap stick fairly typical, such as the scene where Ethan falls asleep at the wheel and flips the car off a freeway overpass; or the scene where the two road-trippers end up bonding over a bong session. I, however, found myself chuckling pretty heavily throughout the film, mainly because most of those scenes were ridiculous. Judging from the audiences response, I'd say those moments were successful at hitting there mark.
*** MINOR SPOILER *** There is another scene where some audience members may find particularly uncomfortable, but it’s funny. Let’s just say Ethan enjoys himself in the car next to a sleeping Peter and his beloved dog “Sunny,” who is enjoying himself, too.
What keeps “Due Date” afloat is the fact that the chemistry between the main characters works. It focuses more on the two travelers during their long trip across country, for which they are forced to endure each others personalities and quirks. You can consider the stunts a sideshow for the actors to react to. In a nut shell, it seems Downey doubles as a baby sitter to an adolescent Galifianakis. The debonair Downey fits just right in the seat of Peter. He looks suave on the outside, but on the inside he’s standoffish and big headed. I like the way he spits words of fire towards an inept Ethan. Galifianakis is no stranger to the roles that require him to use less brainpower than normal, so in which case I feel he was perfect for the role of Ethan. Even though those harsh words were drilled into the childlike Ethan, he seems to find ways to fight back with naïve juvenile responses.
All in all, this zany comedy doesn’t break any barriers and falls just shy of hit potential, unlike Phillips previous break out “The Hangover.” The only real similarities between the two movies are the running theme of “Murphy’s Law,” anything that can go wrong does go wrong. Very few people can remember a little known movie staring John Candy and Steven called “Planes, Trains and Automobile,” which debuted back in 1987.
“Due Date” sits along those lines, yet is a bit watered down. I admit, however, I did have fun with this movie and it was funny enough to keep me watching through out, but it’s no “Harold and Kumar” adventure. Stay tuned or “The Hangover, Part 2” which is in the works; you might have more fun.
J.P. Langston is a member of "Sidewalks Entertainment" team primarily as a videographer. He loves movies, especially sci-fi horror and action comedies. Some of his favorite films include "Blade Runner" "The Matrix Trilogy," The (original) "Star Wars," "Equilibrium," "Serenity," "Kill Bill Vols 1 and 2," "Appleseed," "Unbreakable" and "Sin City." He has a large DVD collection, which is still growing. Since reviewing films for "Sidewalks," he has been expanding his palette for all types of films.
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