Written by: Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland, Adam Sztykiel, and Todd Philips
Directed by: Todd Philips
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Zack Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, and Jamie Foxx
I don’t think anyone predicted that last year’s The Hangover would be a such critical and financial success. All the actors have exploded since, especially Zack Galifianakis. In what looks like an effort to capitalize on the success of The Hangover, the team of Galifianakis and director Todd Philips have reunited to bring us Due Date. As someone who very much enjoyed The Hangover, I was looking forward to this.
Due Date is a road movie about two mismatched men thrown together by unfortunate circumstances. Yes, Due Date takes the same formula as Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. The two individuals are Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) and Ethan Tremblay (Zack Galifianakis). Peter is an architecture on his way home in Los Angeles, where his wife is pregnant and will be giving birth later in the week. At the airport, he meets Ethan, an obnoxious man-child on his way to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams of becoming an actor. A misunderstanding ensues on the plane, and Peter and Ethan are put on the “no fly list”. All of Peter’s bags however, remain on the plane and end up in Los Angeles. This presents a problem as Peter’s wallet and all his money is in his bag. As a result, Peter has no choice but to ride with Ethan.
While The Hangover was very much an ensemble cast effort, Due Date relies more on the chemistry between Galifianakis and Downey Jr. Galifianakis is more or less playing the same character he did in The Hangover, though he isn’t nearly as funny as he was in that film. Downey’s performance is similar to his performance as Tony Stark in Ironman, though less playboy and more a**hole. While neither give in a bad performance, the relationship between the two is very weak. They have decent chemistry together, but their relationship didn’t feel real. Their comes a point where the things Ethan are so insane there is no way Peter would stay with him. What’s even worse is eventually, they start to bond and Peter starts to actually like Ethan. This comes from out of nowhere, didn’t feel real, and made no damn sense. The small supporting cast here is really meh. Danny McBride and RZA each of cameo appearances here, which were mildly amusing at best. Then we have Michelle Monaghan and Jamie Foxx. Both are good actors completely wasted here and aren’t given anything to do. Foxx’s story especially could have been cut right out of the film.
The story here is, like I said, taken straight from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. I should say, I haven’t seen that film since I was a little kid, so it’s not like my opinion on Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is influencing my opinion on this. Anyway, the premise here is solid, but the story doesn’t really go beyond its basic premise. I do however realize that the story is more just here as a setup for a bunch of jokes.
So how are the jokes you may ask? Well…..not great. And this is where the film’s biggest flaw shines through. I’d be willing to forgive poor characters and bland storytelling to some degree had the movie been funny, but this movie wasn’t really. There were some funny moments, but they were few and far between. And it’s not like the moments that were funny were side-splitting hilarity. I chuckled a lot, but didn’t have any belly laughs. And the scenes that did make me laugh were stupid like most of the movie, so it’s not like they saved the film.
This film takes everything The Hangover did right and does it wrong. The great cast is gone, the hilarious jokes are gone, even the fun story is gone. An interesting thing about The Hangover is it actually was fairly interesting watching the story unfold. But here, the film is tedious to sit through with not nearly enough jokes to justify its existence.