Due Date is the latest in the proud tradition of putting a skinny guy and a fat guy together and making them travel across America in a car. Other members of the family include Planes Trains and Automobiles and Tommy Boy. Due Date takes this comedic concept and beats it with a stick until there’s nothing appealing left.
The movie follows Peter Highman, played by Robert Downey Jr., as he tries to get home to Los Angeles to his wife who is about to have their first child. At the airport he meets Ethan Tremblay, played by Zach Galifianakis, who is one of the most obnoxious characters ever. They both get kicked off the plane because Galifanakis can’t stop saying “bomb” or “terrorism” over and over again while Downey tries to shut him up. They then rent a car and start the crazy adventure across the country where they do everything they can to annoy each other and the audience at the same time.
Galifanakis fills in the place of John Candy and Chris Farley in the before mentioned movies, only where their characters were flawed but loveable, idiots but still trying, Galifanakis’s character is completely detached from any rational human thought. It’s as if he’s only been on Earth for about a year and hasn’t quite grasped the concept of human behavior or social etiquette. Throughout the movie he carries a coffee can containing his father’s ashes, which is really just a plot device for whenever he becomes so extremely annoying that when the audience wonders why Downey doesn’t just leave him behind, he can cry about missing his daddy and Downey can feel bad and keep him along.
Downey’s character is almost equally unlikable. Downey takes the place of Steve Martin and David Spade, being the successful uptight businessman who caters to the idiot man-child he’s stuck with. However, rather than being the straight man to the wacky antics, Downey contributes to the kookiness by freaking out over and over again at anyone who slightly annoys him. He becomes especially unlikable when he sucker punches a child at one point simply because the child was being obnoxious. While Galifanakis’s character undoubtedly deserves it, it’s hard to sympathies with Downey when he causes just as many issues as Galifanakis does.
The annoyance of the characters is compounded with the stupidity that is the plot. The extras and guest stars, which pop in and out of the story, do nothing but help add to the man children’s little plight, perpetuating the story only by emphasizing how stupid these people are when compared to more normal people.
One especially moronic scene has Downey held in custody in a trailer by the Mexico border patrol for possession of marijuana. Galifanakis then hijacks a border patrol’s truck, hooks it to a trailer, then slams through several gates and a wall only to escape to the highway where him and Downey then run free back to America and on to LA. This makes for a mediocre action scene, leading to the question as they continue to drive down the highway as to why the cops didn’t stop them for assault on an officer, grand theft auto and destruction of federal property. All of which are much bigger charges than possession.
In short, Due Date is great for anyone currently suffering from amnesia and can’t remember what a good movie is.
Due Date is rated R for strong language and because no child should have to suffer like this.