Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

One of my closest friends is a big-time Hollywood mover and shaker. Okay, maybe that’s not 100% true because if he was ‘big-time’ he probably wouldn’t actually be my friend, but nonetheless he is in Hollywood doing stuff. He told me that the quickest way to get thrown out of a Hollywood pitch meeting is to start off the meeting by saying ‘I have this amazing original idea…’, the key word there being original. You had best come with something such as ‘I have this idea… think ‘Forest Gump’ meets ‘Independence Day’’ and then and only then might they listen to your next sentence. This brings us to director Todd Phillips and his latest movie ‘Due Date’. You would think Todd Phillips would have enough juice to make any movie he wants considering his last movie ‘The Hangover’ made enough loot to sink that stranded Carnival Cruise ship but then again maybe not because ‘Due Date’ plays a lot like ‘The Hangover’ to the point we could probably call it ‘The Hangover 1.5’. Not ‘The Hangover 2.0’ because that’s coming too. Regardless with ‘The Hangover 1.5’ we have a movie that isn’t nearly as funny as ‘The Hangover’ and is mighty mean-spirited for the most part but was it was also fairly amusing for the most part.

Robert Downey Jr. is the character Peter Highman and Peter, for lack of a better word, is an asshole. He’s angry, he’s curt with people, he’s short with people, he has zero tolerance for nonsense and doesn’t suffer fools lightly. Now I don’t think it’s a newsflash to mention that Robert Downey Jr. is great actor and can sell his audience on just about any role he takes on, however there was something about Peter Highman and Robert Downey Jr. that just didn’t feel like acting. Robert Downey Jr.’s performance in this movie was so effortless and so seamless and so natural that right now I’m thinking I’d rather walk from Atlanta to Los Angeles than fly with Mr. Downey Jr. in the first class seat next to me.

Anyway, Peter has had the misfortune of making the acquaintance of the walking tower of mayhem Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) and a series of unfortunate circumstances have gotten Peter kicked off the plane and now he has no luggage, no money, no identification and no way to get back to Los Angeles to be by the side of his lovely wife Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) as they prepare for the birth of their first child.

Fortunately for Peter, or not, Ethan also got kicked off the plane and Ethan has a rental car and as such the road trip between the asshole and the idiot is on. As you can surely guess, mayhem, shenanigans, hi-jinks and wacky zaniness shall ensue at an almost non-stop pace. Ever wonder how a creature lacking opposable thumbs could masturbate? No, neither have I but now I know. Thanks Due Date!

I suppose one of the things that was surprising about ‘Due Date’ is how bitter and mean this movie turned out to be. I don’t necessarily have an issue with this but watching eight year olds getting kidney punched by grown men really isn’t all that funny. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the somewhat suspect areas the team of screenwriters traveled to while mining for comedy gold. Sometimes it worked and sometimes you sit in your theater seat muttering under your breath ‘damn… that’s not cool’.

So we sit around half the time watching the character of Peter be a total dick, which we have already established that Robert Downey Jr. is disturbingly good at, which also had the byproduct of us not giving a rats ass if this clown made it home for the birth of his child since he’ll probably be pain in the ass toward the poor little kid anyway… and we spend the other half of our time uncomfortably laughing at the character of Ethan. Yeah, Zach Galfianakis did some funny stuff in this movie but you know… the guy has mental problems so here I am laughing at this guy with mental problems. I’m not laughing with him, I’m laughing at his stupid ass. Nah, I didn’t feel too good about that but waddayagonna do? It’s just a movie. At least that’s what I kept telling myself.

But hell, it was funny at times and I’m guessing that’s what team ‘Due Date’ set out to do and they succeeded at it. At times. Plus there was a scene taken from ‘Two and a Half Men’ in this movie that also made me laugh. That’s never happened before. Ever. That’s gotta be worth something.

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