When the trailers, as well as the other marketing for DUE DATE, came out like probably every blogger, movie website the resemblance to the classic 1987 John Hughes movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles is impossible not to mention.
The classic movie saw Steve Martin and John Candy pair up to be the oddball couple on a road trip from hell as the Martin attempts to be home in time for Christmas in a journey full of slapstick maniac comedy and now 23 years later we Have Due Date with Todd Phillips. In Due to Date, Robert Downey Jnr plays the determined stubborn businessman trying to get home for the special event and Zach Galifianakis is the John Candy role both with bereavements with the wife becoming the daddy. Right away it’s mission impossible to avoid any similarities: Road movie, odd couple, slapstick over the top comedy.
Robert Downey Jnr plays Peter Highman a stuck up arrogant architect trying to get back home to Los Angeles from Atlanta for the birth of his first child, he’s easily agitated with every little thing. Now introduce Nathan Trembley played by Zach Galifianakis an aspiring actor heading to Hollywood inspired bt Charlie Sheen’s TV Comedy Two And A Half Men, camp with no self-awareness and a killer perm. Through an absurd funny incident on the plane it see’s Highman been tasered, loss of luggage, id or even money and to top it all off blacklisted from flying on any airline, so through no choice of his he must share a car with the most annoying man in a 2000 journey through hell to get home.
If you want taboo’s Due Date has with the masturbating dog which replaces the masturbating baby from The Hangover and If I remember rightly our little pooch friend Sonny (yes I said Sonny) is actually a female dog! This movie is a Planes, someofTrains And Automobiles homage but cruder with elements of The Hangover thrown in for good or offending measure. As Alan Hansen says on Match of The Day on Saturdays Nights “It’s A Game Of Two Halves” Due Date is like this with the first half of the movie fully of the belly aching laughs your expecting but as we drift into the second half it seems to have forgotten how to laugh as it seems to loose those hilarious moments of the first part though I would some of the best parts are in the second half though.
If you’re a filmmaker like Todd Phillips whose made a cult comedy movie like The Hangover it sometimes can be hard to keep the momentum going into the second movie though other times that momentum will follow. This movie tries too hard to live off the fact it’s created by The Hangover creator with the fact it has that John Hughes movie hanging over it which makes it hard to find a true balance of classic humour with gross-out humour thus going off track several times. You could also go as far as saying Nathan Trembley is The Hangover’s Alan Garner reincarnated but don’t expect any live tigers in las vegas hotel rooms, though!
The casting for the movie wasn’t too bad with the best been the two lead actors Robert Downey Jnr perfect as the uptight agitated serious man who can keep a straight face whilst he’s been funny, he is also like a father figure to Zach Galifianakis character the child-like adult adolescent who is just plain stupid with no self-awareness but also at times sympathetic. The other co-stars aren’t in the movie long enough to really be regarded as cameo’s; Juliette Lewis the spaced out drug dealer whose also space cadet boyfriend is played none other than Todd Phillips himself!There was also Danny Mcbride the ex-war vet car hire rep who took no crap from no one, personally, Ive never liked him and didn’t find him funny though some critics say this was one of the funnier parts. Jamie Foxx is his usual sweet talking smoothest who you think maybe doing the dirty behind Highman’s back as he was Highman’s wife Michelle Monaghan’s ex-boyfriend, even Ethan attempts to get Highman they are and the only way to find out if they were was at his child’s birth.
Michelle Monaghan is underused in this a lot like she was in my opinion in Somewhere with Stephen Dorff. As for Jamie Foxx’s part or the movie in general what may have helped the movie was to use a Mike Tyson like cameo someone unexpected to beef up the humour level a notch or two.
I have two parts I really loved first up was the scene with the punching of the obnoxious kid something that many adults have probably dreamed of at times when been harassed by the obnoxious little brats but couldn’t. My all-time part was the coffee drinking scene at Jamie Foxx’s house as they all compliment how good the coffee was until they click it was Ethan’s Dads ashes! Like you do when you taste something horrible you drink and Ethan takes another drop off ‘daddy’ until the horror sinks in histone it again but it was the aftermath whilst Peter and Ethan sit in the car talking about how many cup fulls of coffee his a father’s ashes would make making this the classic scene of the movie.
Due Date was a funny film which does have those brilliant one-liners but the humour was let down by the fragmented script as well as the monkey on the back of the scriptures not to offend fans of The John Hughes movie with the crudeness of Phillips debut feature. The ironic thing is though Downey Jnr and Galifianakis worked well as the odd couple some of the movie’s finest moments when the were on theirs. Due Date isn’t a classic movie like The Hangover but it’s certainly not a bad movie either just the perfect gap filler as we wait for The Hangover 2 to return to the big screen.
★★★1/2| Paul Devine
Originally posted at The Peoples Movies | 23rd February 2011