Directed by: Todd Phillips
Premise: A high strung father-to-be (Robert Downey Jr.) travels across the country with a dimwitted aspiring actor (Zach Galifianakis).
What Works: Due Date is a reworking of the odd-couple formula seen in other films like Planes, Trains & Automobiles and Some Like It Hot. The gags in Due Date are hit and miss but when they work, Due Date delivers laughs on par with better films in this subgenre. Due Date sends the pair of travelers on a series of misadventures, forcing them to rely on each other and predictably the two men overcome their personal differences and achieve a level of mutual respect. Zach Galifianakis is cast as the same kind of lovable idiot character he played in The Hangover and Dinner for Schmucks – but Galifianakis is a very good actor and underneath the character’s idiocy there is an earnestness and vulnerability that makes him very appealing.
What Doesn’t: Due Date is not as successful with Robert Downey Jr.’s character, who is violent and angry, directing ire toward everyone from Galifianakis’ character to his pregnant wife played by Michelle Monaghan. It’s not Downey’s fault, as the actor does what he can to give his role some depth, but because Galifianakis is so successful at courting the audience’s sympathies the film doesn’t leave Downey much room to carve out his own niche in the story. Due Date has other flaws in its storytelling, introducing various subplots such as a possible infidelity storyline, but these are all dropped without achieving a meaningful conclusion. The various comedic scenarios that Downey and Galifianakis’ characters find themselves in are isolated from one another. The film does not build momentum but introduces a given scenario, milks it for laughs, and then moves on to the next setup. As a result, a lot of the scenes of this film could be rearranged without narrative or thematic consequence.
Bottom Line: Due Date is sufficiently funny and fans of Downey and Galifianakis should definitely check it out. It’s no comedy classic but it does make for a good laugh.
Episode: #316 (November 21, 2010)