Due Date begins with Peter and Ethan meeting at the airport dropoff when Ethan’s car collides with Peter’s car and rips off the door. It’s an inauspicious start.
The two subsequently find themselves on a flight to LA where a bit of loose talk results in an altercation with an air marshall, their removal from the flight and their placement on the ‘no fly’ list.
Peter desperately needs to get to LA for the birth of his first child and Ethan needs to get there to start his acting career. In a most unlikely scenario, the only way they can get there is to drive cross country together with Ethan’s dog Sonny. Blind Freddy can see that this will be fraught with irritation, conflict and upset.
This film rides on the coattails of the highly successful film The Hangover which also stars Zach Galifianakis and is also directed by Todd Phillips. Expectations are therefore high that Due Date would be as funny as The Hangover, particularly with the addition of the excellent Robert Downey Jr.
However, the bumbling fool/ tightly strung guy combination is one that needs to be handled carefully and in Due Date’s case it falls well short of the mark. The two characters are so mean spirited and unlikeable that we’re never really behind them and we don’t want them to win.
What made it particularly disappointing was that I chuckled through the trailer and was looking forward to the film, but the film didn’t squeeze so much as a smile from me.
In isolation, Robert Downey Jr is always a pleasure to watch. And the supporting cast features Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis and Michelle Monaghan. So this film has the elements to make it extremely watchable. Although I’m not a fan of Zach Galifianakis’ gross out humour, the blame for this film not working doesn’t solely rest with him – I think it’s a poor script filled with unlikely scenarios (even for movie reality) and just a bit of a dud.