Due Date - Cinema Review

'the only elements that prevent this from turning into a high-school comedy are the age of the leads and the absence of Jason Biggs'

In a first half which sees lead duo Peter (Robert Downey Jr) and Ethan (Zach Galifianakis) end up in such 'hilarious' scrapes as being beaten up by a wheelchair-bound army veteran and suffer accusations of terrorism whilst on board a pan-American flight, Due Date heads down the road of being distinctly unfunny or borderline offensive, dependant on your own personal comedy boundaries. Scenes that should, for the un-offended, register a shocked giggle, fail to ignite and waste opportunities of genuine comedy as director/co-writer Todd Phillips limps along to an overwrought and over-long stop off in a rest area.

Come the morning though, now about halfway through the lead's road trip from Atlanta to Los Angeles, the film suddenly picks up with one of two unexpected and substantial set pieces that bring the film to life with a swift kick to its funny bone. The obvious comparisons with Planes, Trains & Automobiles ring true on a plot level but this feels much more frat pack, much more Road Trip (which Phillips, it may surprise some to discover, also wrote and directed), than John Hughes' film and the only elements that prevent this from turning into a high-school comedy are the age of the leads and the absence of Jason Biggs.

Which means that the scenes of ridiculous naivety and, on a more base level, inadvertent drug abuse, are all present and correct, portrayed much more satisfyingly by the experienced Downey Jr and Galifianakis than a cast of anonymous youngsters could ever manage. The increasingly outlandish scenarios, with Ethan's lack of intelligence constantly frustrating short-fused architect Peter, build to a predictable, satisfying and sudden end that is further embellished by the brief appearance earlier on of Jamie Foxx, whose presence adds an extra and very welcome layer to proceedings.

Phillips' script though, continually lets the director and stars down and both Galifianakis and Downey Jr frequently feel like they're either under-scripted or underplaying their roles in a subdued manner which doesn't fit the material. With Hollywood's hottest comedy director, a rising comedy star and one of its hottest talents all present, Due Date feels like it should be much more praiseworthy, and funny, that it actually is and the lack of laughs in the very final scene, which brings in a different property altogether, are indicative of its somewhat stunted stab at mainstream comedy.

Look further...

'Due Date has two one-note, ignorant, self-involved travellers that annoy each other (and sometimes the audience) and yet want us to state that all is forgiven because the reason for their travels are noble' - The Afrofilmviewer


  1. I've not been much of a fan of Todd Phillips work up until now, and I recognize I'm in the minority on that. My main concern and reason for avoiding this film is too much advertising. I need some separating between the constant onslaught of ads and the film so I can actually enjoy the jokes in proper context.

    Out of curiosity is the movie heavy on 'stoner'/drug moments? I seldom find them very amusing so the less the better in my opinion.

    Nice review :)

  2. good review! in my opnion this movie coudln't have been saved unless a through script facelift was performed.

  3. Uni - I remember you not liking THE HANGOVER which I did think was a successful comedy but there are films in his back catalog that I don't like either.

    Without ruining too much there are a few little bits involving Galifianakis and there's one 'trip' segment of, at most, 5mins or so. It's not significant and the fact that it involves RDJ does make it slightly funnier than usual.

    Candice - the script is definitely not as sharp as it should be. I expected more zingy one-liners, especially from RDJ and too often Phillips resorts to just having him swear at Galifianakis. Thanks for the compliment!