in , , , ,

Due Date


‘…Due Date isn’t a particularly substantial film, but top talent in front of the camera make it watchable middlebrow fare…’

The brief furore over Todd Phillips’ Joker provided an opportunity to look back on the other work of this unheralded auteur; before winning the prestigious Golden Lion of Venice, Phillips had been a prolific purveyor of low-brow comedies like the Hangover trilogy, tv reboot Starsky and Hutch, or teen comedy Road Trip. There have been attempts to lift his game as writer and director; buddy comedy War Dogs wasn’t bad at all, and this vehicle for Zack Galifinakis and Robert Downey Jr rehashes Rain Man, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and many odd-couple comedies to mildly entertaining effect.

Peter Highman (Downey Jr) is a tightly wound exec who gets knocked out of his rut when he meets Ethan Tremblay (Galifanakis) an aspiring actor who accidentally puts the two men on a no-fly blacklist after some on-board shenanigans involving lost luggage. Despite having little in common, the two men decide to drive from Atlanta to LA, with Tremblay’s dog in tow, and encountering Juliette Lewis, Jamie Foxx, Danny McBride and a few other notables along the way.

Due Date’s odd-couple comedy is pretty tired, and the tropes, which include various indignities for the ashes of Tremblay’s father, are beyond done to death. And yet Galifinakis does a great job of making Ethan a three-dimensional threat to his new friend, and even when the action gets quite silly during an extended Mexican border car-chase, the relationship stays grounded.

Downey Jr is, despite his lengthy exposure as an A list star, still somewhat unfamiliar in such a low-key, everyday context, and he tests the unlikable edges of a self-absorbed character. Due Date isn’t a particularly substantial film, but top talent in front of the camera make it watchable middlebrow fare, and that’s increasingly rare as we sink deeper into our ongoing cultural fragmantation.


Leave a Reply
      • Nah, I’d get a nice comfy cell with 3 meals a day and no need to work outdoors in the snow. And once I’d shanked whoever was top dog in my block, everybody would leave me alone too. Man, that sounds really appealing!

        Of course, with all the delays airlines are dealing with, it’s going to take a lot to get put on a no-fly list now…

Leave a Reply