Blu-Ray Review: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis Waste Efforts on ‘Due Date’

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CHICAGO – Todd Phillips followed up his mega-hit and award-winning comedy “The Hangover” with a decidedly lesser affair, a traditional road movie that simply isn’t funny enough to warrant a look except for die hard fans of its stars. Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis don’t do anything particularly wrong in “Due Date,” but the lackluster script and pedestrian direction lets them down. Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.5/5.0

Fans of the classic “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” with Steve Martin and John Candy will recognize the oil-and-water road movie set-up of “Due Date.” The film could practically be called a reboot of that comedy classic (and would have been better if they had used that far-superior script as a foundation) in the way it sends two very disparate personalities on a cross-country adventure with wacky obstacles along the way.

Due Date was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 22nd. 2011
Due Date was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 22nd. 2011
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Home Video

The mismatched couple this time features Robert Downey Jr. as the uptight and somewhat obnoxious Peter Highman, who meets the awkward and unusual Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) at the airport not long before he’s kicked off the plane and put on a no-fly list. With his wallet and ID headed home to L.A. where his wife (Michelle Monaghan) is about to give birth, Peter has to find his way home. Through a series of events, he finds himself in car with Ethan and the two hit the open road.

Due Date was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 22nd. 2011
Due Date was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 22nd. 2011
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Home Video

One has to admire Phillips’ desire to do whatever it takes to get a joke. There aren’t many filmmakers willing to allow Downey’s Peter to be such a jerk or to allow Ethan to be a complete moron. The film works best when it pushes that envelope such as when Peter punches a kid in the stomach after being annoyed one too many times or when Ethan suggests to his new friend that perhaps the baby he’s going to meet soon isn’t his own. There are moments when the talented leads find the pace and rhythm of the dark edge of the comedy and those work.

But there aren’t enough of them. Sadly, “Due Date” just isn’t that funny. Downey and Galifianakis aren’t bad (and Jamie Foxx and Monaghan are wasted in cameos) but most of the set-ups for “Due Date” feel extremely forced. The random, tangential jokes work best — when the structure of the piece falls away and the stars can do what they get paid to do — but when the plot is forced back and they’re crashing cars or getting caught at the Mexican border, it produces more eye-rolling that guffaws.

“From The Hangover director Todd Phillips, Due Date throws two unlikely companions together on a road trip that turns out to be as life-changing as it is outrageous. Expectant first-time father Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) looks forward to his new child’s due date five days away. As Peter hurries to catch a flight home from Atlanta to be at his wife’s side for the birth, his best intentions go completely awry when an encounter with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) forces Peter to hitch a ride with Ethan on a cross-country trip that will ultimately destroy several cars, many friendships and Peter’s last nerve.”

Special Features:
o Deleted Scenes
o Action Mashup
o Too Many Questions Mashup
o Gag Reel
o “Two and a Half Men” Sequence featuring Ethan Tremblay
o Digital Copy

“Due Date” stars Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. It was directed by Todd Phillips and released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 22nd, 2011. It is rated R and runs 95 minutes. content director Brian Tallerico

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