Ya know, I’ve got to admit…I’m getting tired of Zach Galifianakis. To a certain extent, I was tired of him before The Hangover was even finished. I’ve never been a big fan of that whole “annoying guy that everyone grows to love” concept – in fact, I pretty much get sick of all characters/actors who get their fame by doing that type of role (like Jonah Hill). To a certain extent, the schtick wore thin in the hay days of John Candy and Bill Murray, but there will always be some kind of actor who tries to fill the role, not realizing that what worked for those guys is that they were as lovable as they were annoying.
So it’s probably not going to come as a surprise what my thoughts on Due Date are. I saw the movie mainly for Robert Downey, Jr, who I think is pretty awesome (who doesn’t?), but the trailers made it seem like Galifianakis was essentially playing the same character, if not the exact same role, as he did in The Hangover. Still, I ventured to check the flick out, and my full review is after the jump.
In Due Date, Robert Downey, Jr. plays Peter Highman, who’s wife (played by Michelle Monaghan) is due to deliver by C-Section on Friday, so he’s on his way back from a business trip to be there for the birth of his child. Unfortunately, he happens to meet Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis), who, through a series of unfortunate circumstances, ends up getting them both on the “no fly” list. Peter’s left his wallet on the plane, so he ends up hitching a ride with Ethan, and chaos and hijinks ensue, including an angry handicapped guy, a masterbating dog, running from the cops, and a ton more.
It’s hardly an original idea, and to a certain extent, it’s even repeat material for director Todd Phillips, who’s already done the “gotta get there on time” thing in Road Trip and The Hangover. And, of course, it borrows heavily from both those films and, of course, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Unfortunately, Due Date (thanks Joe) isn’t really as good as any of those films. I think the problem with the story may mainly be in it’s identity crisis. Sure, there’s room for drama in my comedies, but Due Date either seems a little bi-polar with the comedy and the drama thrown in for good measure. Not only that, some of the humor just isn’t funny, and elicits more groans than humor. I don’t know if it’s the directing style or the fact that so many funny bits were already shown in the trailers, but a good number of the jokes just fell flat for me.
Not only that, the unlikeable nature of both characters takes away a lot of the heart that works in films like this. I mean, they were both jerks, so why would I be rooting for them to succeed? Not only that, it’s a bit frustrating how little attention is paid to consequences. I won’t go too much into spoiler territory, but you have to forgive a lot in this film. The cops would just let them go, Peter would actually continue staying with Ethan despite all that happened, his friend would not mention his car getting impounded, etc. etc….
Still, it’s not all bad – there were plenty of instances where I really just found myself laughing out loud. Overall, I don’t feel like I wasted my time watching the movie, but I do feel like it could have waited until DVD, or even a cable viewing. Due Date may not be original, and what it’s doing has been done better, but it’s worth a few laughs in the long run.