Saturday, November 6, 2010

Box Office Review - Due Date

This is Todd Phillips follow-up film to his mega hit The Hangover. Due Date follows Robert Downey jr and Zach Galifianakis two strangers who after and unfortunate incident at the airport have to travel cross country together. I find it hard to believe that this isn't considered a remake of Plane, Trains, and Automobiles as it is basically the same story.

Robert Downey jr plays Peter Highman a guy trying to get to Los Angeles so that he can witness the birth of his first child. Zach Galifianakis plays Ethan Trembley an aspiring actor who is also on his way to Los Angeles to achieve fame and fortune. After switching bags at the airport Peter and Ethan end up on the no fly list and have to travel together across country. Along the way Ethan is and idiot and Peter is jerk. They meet a bunch of crazy characters and get into crazy situations. They hate each other almost the whole time and then just when things seem to be getting better truths are revealed that make them hate each other even more. In the end though they learn to get along and become friends.

In the film Downey plays the straight man and Galifianakis is the wild and crazy guy who gets them into misadventures. There is nothing wrong with this formula as it works in comedies all the time. Due Date just doesn't do it well. The situations that the characters get into become so ridiculous that the film just stopped working for me. There are some funny parts in the film, but all these scenes are pure dialogue. Downey and Galifianakis could riff well together and the movie should have relied on this rather than on physically gags.

Aside from the two main actors, the other big names in the films appear only briefly in one or two scenes. Juliette Lewis plays a drug dealer and she is fine in the part. Jamie Foxx does absolutely nothing in the few scenes that he is in. The best cameos are by the RZA as an airport security worker, Matt Walsh as TSA agent, and Danny Mcbride as an angry veteran working at a Western Union.

Due Date is a better film then The Hangover, but only slightly. It would be nice to see Galifianakis in a solid comedy prior to the backlash that is seemingly always on the horizon for comedy actors. The best thing for me about Due Date is being reminded just how good Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is. I think I need to watch that film again soon.

A Banana Peel

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