Sunday, July 31, 2011
Review: Due Date (2010) TH
Having toleration is an understatement
After Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) gets a quick look at the guy who just hit the door off of his chauffeur's car at the airport, like with everything else he's a busy man who doesn't think very much about the bearded guy who's probably got more than an issue or two hidden behind the facial fortress. But soon enough that man with a perm to match turns into that person who just won't go away. He's the most foulest, unashamed "companion," but one who instead acts more like a capture of his every next move. As the saying goes, "Sometimes you have to give a little to get a little," but no matter what he does to compromise, the pesky man named Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) just keeps getting worse and causes Peter to nearly reinvent himself along the way so he can just get to his wife's labor in time but first he has to cover a stretch from Atlanta to L.A. Simple enough, right?
This is easier said than done, as he's got no ID, money, luggage or car, and he just got put on the No-Fly list due to a misunderstanding involving Ethan. Now, the man who just caused him enough grief offers him a ride in his rental car with his little dog Sonny because he's going to Hollywood to become an actor, face-shot portfolio, impressions and all. Peter grudgingly excepts, because how bad could it really be? Well, he probably puts up with more idiocy than Charles Darwin himself researched and catalogued. He's the Clint Eastwood of comedies as he's a man of fewer, quicker words and isn't used to opening up. Ethan, on the other hand, is an imploding, extroverted personality all his own. Though he's a walking, talking conundrum: nice, but rude, giving, but takes, a talker, but not a listener, and then sympathetic in one way and a jerk the next. If that wasn't enough Peter meets all kinds of contradictory characters in middle America that he might not have ever seen or wanted to see ever again. Including rude and violent employees and drug dealers who want him to watch their obnoxious kids while they score a deal.
"Due Date" is a comedy/adventure that is often delivered with deadpan humor that revolves around the ridiculousness of the situations and interactions, rather than droves of inventive dialogue or witty one-liners. The whole trip is a trip, so some impossible and implausible scenarios happen that can insult one's intelligence from getting into fights, near death accidents and possible trouble with the law, but that is only if you take it seriously. Zach Galifianakis puts on a detestable but commendable role as a delusional, sheltered man who's naive and unapologetic but he doesn't even realize it himself. Robert Downey Jr. plays it straight but is able to still line up the comedic scenes and slip in a few lines of his own when it gets the best of him. The R is for drug use, frequent cursing and some minor sexual references. The greatest aspect about this movie, is it never lets up. Even when there's a supposed sad and touching scene, something still manages to goof up, go unexpectedly wrong or put the two actor's back on the ropes. Like the old gag of pulling away with a handshake, it puts the unsure audience on edge but still leaves room to anticipate what will happen next. It's still a growing experience that breaks down their barriers to make the two leads who are entirely different people beforehand now either best friends or just knowledgeable chums that are still at each other's throats.
Director: Todd Phillips (Road Trip, Old School, The Hangover)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis
Ethan: "Dad, you were like a father to me."
Heidi: "You know, only, like, fucking jerk-offs get perms."
Ethan: "I'm not an accountant Peter. I'm not even Jewish."
Peter: "How have you made it? How have you not run yourself over in a car?"
Ethan: "I've done that."
Ethan: "God Almighty, holy moly. It's like I'm traveling with a child!"
Peter: "Did you use the restroom?"
Ethan: "Good point. I need to take a pee-pee."