Film Reviews

DUE DATE

By • Nov 7th, 2010 •

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A road trip romance with spitting.

Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) is a serious architect who does not know how to relax and “go with the flow”. That’s the lesson he must learn in DUE DATE, Todd Phillips new movie. Coming from the huge success of Phillips’ THE HANGOVER, which made a huge star of Zach Galifianakis (I loved Fat Jesus), DUE DATE is a road trip romance with spitting and a dog.

Galifianakis – who shot to fame carrying a baby – now carries a masturbating dog. His character, delusional hopeful actor Ethan Tremblay, also is a masturbation pro. But where were the tissues?

Peter and Ethan meet improbably. I guess the four credited screenwriters – Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland, Adam Sztykiel, and Todd Phillips – could not come up with an even semi-realistic device to get these two together.

Peter is a smart guy with a caste mentality. His wife is due to have their first child. Why in the world would he agree to get into a car with homeless Ethan once they find themselves stranded at an Atlanta airport?

As soon as Ethan thrust his big, hairy belly into Peter’s face on the plane, Peter should have opted to walk home. Through Ethan’s plan for company, Peter is taken off the plane with him and put on the no-fly list. With no money or ID, Peter must travel across the country with Ethan and his pug Sonny.

Improbable things happen without consequences. Peter gets beat up by the sensational Danny McBride. They walk away from a horrific car crash. They escape from Mexico, destroying a police station.

All the while, falling in love.

As with any movie romance, there are tears, masturbation, and spitting. (As an untrained, non-licensed Freudian analyst, just saying…when a director puts more than one spitting scene in a movie, you must consider he is either reliving a childhood trauma or a sex practice he’s addicted to.)

Thank goodness Downey has the good sense to play it straight all the way – until the “I love you dude” moment. It was creepy.

Galifianakis has enormous cinematic goodwill – even if he has demonstrated how powerful he is by booting Mel Gibson out of a measly one scene in THE HANGOVER 2 – by playing characters without an agenda or guile. Why did he give his character such a funny walk? Where can Galifianakis’s career go? Will he lose weight, shave his now-signature beard and demand romantic lead roles? You know it’s coming. And so will the dramatic parts, the music career, and the children’s books.

Galifianakis already has shown he can wield power. Let’s hope he never does a stupid thing or Mel’s vengeance will befall him.

DUE DATE is a disappointment.

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