Synopsis: Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) is an expectant first-time father whose wife’s due date is a mere five days away. As Peter hurries to catch a flight home from Atlanta to be at her side for the birth, his best intentions go completely awry when a chance encounter with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) forces Peter to hitch a ride with Ethan–on what turns out to be a cross-country road trip that will ultimately destroy several cars, numerous friendships and Peter’s last nerve.
Release Date: November 5, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Initial reaction: When bad movies happen to great actors.
Peter (Downey Jr.) is on his way home from a business trip. His wife is scheduled for a c-section in a few days and he will for the first time in his life become a father. Ethan (Galifianakis) is on his way to Hollywood to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. When their paths cross everything goes wrong from that point on and in a certain twist of fate they end up driving cross country together. They are two men who could not be more different than each other; a perfect odd coupling – or not. The misadventures they encounter along their trip are meant to be funny and keep the viewer entertained with how just about everything can and will go wrong when you are paired with a man like Ethan. Alternatively, everything is completely unimaginative and frustrating. The casual surprises one desires from a comedy of this sorts are nonexistent. The jokes do not play well between Ethan and Peter, nor is their inevitable buddy romance on any level believable. When the twist comes that brings them together as a unit on a mission to get Peter home, it is an homage to the worst stagy direction you can imagine on screen. Include then the overemotional music that chimes in at that exact moment and all one can do is groan over the pathetic attempt at making these two characters mesh even with their different personalities. Due Date goes through the motions as it must and relies on the general likability of its stars to carry the film. But without solid material to work with or a developed screenplay with well-targeted jokes and non-cliche scenarios it merely becomes a film that one might want to omit from their resume.
Zach Galifianakis’ character Ethan Tremblay is “special”. One cannot call him stupid, per se, but he is definitely shy of a few marbles. His sweetness makes him forgivable, but his imbecilic antics one after another are hardly funny. The obvious attempts at humor, like the dainty way he walks, may amass a few chuckles now and again but true laughter, unlikely. The only real humorous moments come in the constant stream of sarcasm that fills the first half of the film from Robert Downey Jr.’s character, Peter Highman. Even these bouts of sarcastic wit, that are all pointed at Ethan, only actually work because he is so dimwitted as to not get the directly mean spirited comments aimed at him. The film desperately tries to add some comedy by throwing in appearances by other well known actors or comics playing standard character types. Even their best efforts fail, except for possibly one excellent line delivered by, most surprisingly, Jamie Foxx (Daryyl). The odd couple pair of Downey and Galifianakis is, and remains, exactly that – an odd pairing of two talented actors who clearly are better suited for other films, and other buddy’s to play with in them.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Todd Phillips
- Producer(s): Alan R. CohenAlan FreedlandAdam SztykielTodd Phillips
- Screenwriter(s): Robert Downey Jr. (Peter Highman)
- Story: Zach Galifianakis (Ethan Tremblay)
- Cast: Michelle Monaghan (Sarah Highman)Jamie Foxx (Darryl)Juliette Lewis (Heidi) Danny McBride (Lonnie)Debra Neil-FisherLawrence Sher
- Editor(s): Bill Brzeski
- Cinematographer: Christophe Beck
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA