Due Date

30 Sep

By josh

Road trip movies are a legitimate genre in Hollywood, and they almost always revolve around an Odd Couple premise – two (or sometimes more) passengers must travel together, and they couldn’t be any more different – add water and shake for instant comedy. Let’s just go down a brief list – The Wizard of Oz, Thelma and Louise, Tommy Boy, Little Miss Sunshine, and the ultimate Planes, Trains & Automobiles – all feature a band of opposites who somehow survive the trip together, and at the end, the straight-laced characters learn to let their hair down, and the total weirdoes are revealed to be more than just idiosyncrasies. They all follow a formula, we’ve all seen it before, and the studios keep churning them out, the latest of which is Due Date, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis.

The film follows the simple premise – business-suited and Bluetooth-wearing Downey must get home to his wife in time to see the birth of his first child, and he must rely on the oddball and effeminate Galifianakis (yes, that’s a Lilith Fair t-shirt he’s wearing under that scarf) and his rental car to get him there. After trashing the car in a crazy highway accident, the two (plus Galifianakis’ dog) continue on together, hitching rides from strangers, and possibly stealing a highway patrol vehicle. While annoying with inane questions, or just outright mean, the two show a tenderness building, which, I’m just going to take a stab and say, will result in Downey inviting Galifianakis to join him for Thanksgiving dinner – I mean, the birth of his child.

Directed by Todd Phillips, this film bites wholly and evenly from the aforementioned Planes, Trains, where Downey replaces the uptight Steve Martin, and the plump Galifianakis wears the plus-sized pants of shower ring salesman John Candy. Downey must get home to his wife, and despite the obvious obnoxiousness of Galifianakis, reluctantly agrees to a ride. I’m guessing there was an overbooked flight and Hertz was suddenly completely out of stock. Oh, and the Greyhound drivers were on strike, and well, who really travels by train, anyway? The plot? It’s throwaway. The thing that’s going to set this apart (and is probably how they repackaged and sold it), is ironman Downey, and the new Will Farrell in Zach Galifianakis. These two are so hot right now you could put them in a Jane Austen period drama and still expect to sell tickets. Downey is the comeback kid who proved with Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang that he still had charm, and with Tropic Thunder that he could make people laugh. And Galifianakis, who is utterly ubiquitous right now, toiled for years doing stand up and random weirdness, but after his breakout hangover, he’s absolutely killing it as the go-to funnyman, while still keeping up with random weirdness. For Due Date to be getting the attention it is, you’ve got to believe it’s from “The Hangover” plug at the beginning of the clip, and the fat, furry face of “that guy from The Hangover.”

Phillips, who directed The Hangover, has already gone down that road movie path with Road Trip back in 2000, and is responsible for assembling the Frat Pack for 2003’s Old School, so he knows how to use the oh-so-hot right now stars to effectively make dick jokes. But while The Hangover was funny, and had some memorable lines and situations, can Phillips keep making the same movie over and over again, just adjusting the stars and the settings? We’ve been getting a more adult Phillips as of late, with him moving away from college settings and focusing on bros in their late twenties on the eve of a wedding, and now thirty and forty-somethings with babies on the way; are we to expect a deeper funny? In the opening scene from the trailer, Downey recites a story about how his dad left him when he was young, and Galifianakis laughs and says “my dad would never do that, he loved me.” Is that ‘loved’ as in the past tense? Are we going to find out Galifianakis’ dad is gone, and he has no family left to turn to? Will we get Downey at the end sympathizing with the overgrown child, and inviting him to Thanksgiving dinner, I mean, the birth of his child? One can only guess, but my guess is yes.

So, will it suck?

No. It seems like every movie we see these days is a rip-off of some other movie, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re all bad. Let’s just take the Planes, Trains homage in stride, and focus on its differences, in that it has Downey and Galifianakis this time around; two people that I actually find funny (sorry, I just don’t get Steve Martin). As anyone with an HBO subscription and brains knows, Galifianakis can actually act like a fairly normal person (Bored to Death), and not pigeonholed as a complete ‘ri-tard.’ A legitimate funnyman that’s finally getting his due, combined with Downey, who now that he’s clean can be respected again, in a Todd Phillips movie? Well, on paper it all looks good, and despite the trailer not really having too many laugh moments (the “check yourself” line by Galifianakis is borderline cringe-worthy), you’ve got to have faith that yes, this won’t be an award winner, but it’s going to do what a road movie was intended to do – take you on a wild-ass ride, but leave you sleeping soundly in your own bed at night.

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2 Responses to “Due Date”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. In Theaters This Weekend: Due Date/Megamind/127 Hours – big movies prove there’s something for everyone « Will It Suck? - November 5, 2010

    […] first big movie coming out is Due Date, the much anticipated reunion of Zach Galifianakis and Todd Phillips, his Hangover director. […]

    Like

  2. First Look: New ‘Muppets’ movie with Jason Segel « Will It Suck? - November 10, 2010

    […] will help with the script, and the film will co-star Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, and the ubiquitous Zach Galifianakis. The film, slated for December 25, 2011, follows Walter and Gary as they reunite the entire Muppet […]

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