Sunday, March 27, 2011

DVD--Due Date

or: Not the next The Hangover

One word to sum it up: Harsh.

In 2009, Todd Phillips directed a movie called The Hangover. You know, it was just a small movie, and seemed to get plenty of positive reviews from the critics. Many people say that comedies just aren't funny any more, and most of them aren't, but when The Hangover came, now that was funny. Everyone really got a kick out of watching three men run around Las Vegas trying to find their groom-to-be best buddy. And hey, that movie was damn good. The pay off and was truly one of the funniest mainstream R-rated comedies to come out in ages. Last year, it seems like Phillips was trying to cash in on his success with that film by writing and directing Due Date, which again saw Zach Galifianakis in a strange role and had a couple of men running around to get to a certain point - this time, the birth of a baby. Instead of living up to the reputation he'd built up with The Hangover, Phillips proved that it's difficult to make a follow up just as great.

Taking a stab at road trip comedies like Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Due Date makes some fun by putting two unlikely companions together in a car to make the trip across America. Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) must get to LA in five days to be at the birth of his firstborn. He is about to fly home from Atlanta when his luggage and wallet are sent to LA without him, and he is put on the "no-fly" list. Desperate to get home Peter is forced to accept the offer of Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) to hitch a ride with him cross-country. Peter is about to go on the most terrifying and agonizing journey of his life.

The comparisons between this and The Hangover are almost inevitable. It's as if after the success of that film, Warner Bros. forced another comedy out of Todd Phillips and told him to make it in next to no time. The material wasn't brilliant, and could have used a couple more drafts before something decent came out of it. Luckily, they got two very likeable stars: Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, along with some support from Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx and Juliette Lewis. The only problem with having all this talent on show is the fact that there aren't very likeable characters to go with them. Robert's character, expecially, is absolutely horrible. Like, I'm sure he was just supposed to be mean for comedic effect, but he came across as just being horribly mean...everything he said was like a giant insult. Normally, a horrible lead character might be okay if it is backed up by a likeable one. While I admired Galifianakis effort, his character was just a tad annoying. Yes, they were an unlikely pair. But they were so unlikely that they just didn't gel.

Due Date just felt like the same kind of thing repeated over and over. One minute, you felt like Peter and Ethan were getting along. The next minute they weren't. One minute everything was fine. The next minute something terrible was happening. It just repeated this formula over and over, which came to be quite tiresome for me. There was actually a lot of violence and physical harm in this movie, and I felt like they may have been getting away from the point there. There wasn't a lot of happiness, or any memorable quotes, which are two things a good comedy just had. Instead, there were a couple of scenes which stood out and made me laugh quite a bit (both of which are in the trailer). The ending was nice enough, but a little of what I've come to expect from movies like these. Due Date could have really made use of it's lovely leads and it's gifted writer/director. But unfortunately, it was pretty obvious that this was just riding high on the success of The Hangover.

THE VERDICT: Due Date is an under-done, joyless ride, and a major disappointment. Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis remain likeable, though, even if their characters were not.

What I hoped for:

What I got:


  1. Sounds pretty dull, I won't bother with it.

    I actually have never seen The Hangover, but I'm not a big fan of Comedies, so I'm not sure if I will see it...

    Great review though!

  2. It's bad enough that it took four screenwriters to ineptly rehash Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but it's even worse that they've only managed to come up with one new joke each. Just sucked all around basically. Good Review!

  3. Jack - If you don't like comedies than there is no point in checking out The Hangover...that is the king of comedies. Thanks!

    Dan - Nice way of putting it! Thanks!


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