Due Date Reviews
Make people laugh it's really that simple.
And, as an actor, Robert Downey Jr. must own accountability to this for agreeing to spit in the dog's face like that.
On top of everything, and sadly, way too common, is the fact that the dog was doing nothing aggressive. He was simply sitting there, trusting he was safe.
Please send complaints to NBC and any other network airing this movie.
Animal abuse must end, and will stand a better chance once the media no longer condones animal violence in any way, shape or form.
The large box office success of Due Date can be credited entirely to the fact that it re-unites the talents that created The Hangover. I know that because when I first went to see the film back in 2010, I was high on the same excitement as everybody else. As a result I laughed very heavily at the film and watched it numerous times. All these years later with my head clear from the contemporary excitement, I can now see eye-to-eye with the problems critics find with it.
The Hangover was criticized for its vulgarity by some critics, but it managed to mediate the humour well enough that it came at random moments behind extensive periods of strong interplay between the cast members. In Due Date there are only two central characters that the story focuses on. One is a self-obsessed and extremely unlikable egotist while the other is a pale one-joke imitation of Alan Garner from The Hangover. Though a thinly sentimental friendship develops between these two characters, it only sneaks in after a tediously long period of consistent repetition between the egotist and the idiot. These two characters are planted firmly in the centre of a generic road movie in which the humour comes from the oddball situations they encounter along the way. This includes getting into a fight with a paraplegic, drinking the remains of a human corpse and one of them shooting the other. This is the standard of humour in the film, and the expectation is that shock value will compensate for the lack of development in the script. But both central characters are unlikable and have nothing interesting to say or any development to actually go through, meaning that when the film ends it doesn?t actually feel like it has made any progression towards the conclusion but rather just jumped there. I could normally forgive the lack of story in a comedy if there was sufficient humour to compensate for it, but since the dialogue is so juvenile and the shock humour is so crude there is really only sporadic laughs to find in the film. And any attempt that the film makes to put sentimentality in really makes the experience more tedious to sit through. It allows Zach Galifinakis the occasional dramatic moment, but it really makes no lasting contribution to the film when it falls back on its routine sense of humour so frequently.
The film is a comedy which doesn?t know the right way to make people laugh, so its clear that Due Date doesn?t do its job as a genre picture. It?s worth giving the film points for its production values with much of the scenery being nice and some of the gags such as the climactic collection of car chases really emphasizing the ridiculous nature of the film, but the former is largely irrelevant to a comedy while the latter just reminds audiences of the film?s derivative nature with its insistence on taking from The Blues Brothers (1980). Given that Due Date is a star vehicle for two of the most recognized actors in Hollywood at the time, the success of the feature is dependent on their efforts. Unfortunately, the script refuses to allow them anything strong to deliver.
Robert Downey Jr. is a frustrating lead. Being an actor brought back into the superstar spotlight through his starring role as the titular hero in Iron Man (2008), Robert Downey Jr. attempts to replicate much of the Tony Stark character through his vanity and self-obsession. But rather than giving him any development into becoming an actually likable character at any point in the story, Robert Downey Jr. sticks to Peter Highmann?s monotonous headspace of frustration the entire time without remembering how to make it funny. He isolates himself from any sense of humanity and just plays such a stuck-up and arrogant prick who has never heard of smiling in his life. As a result there is never any satisfaction audiences can get from the character unless theyre watching him get beat up by a paraplegic, portrayed by the much funnier Danny McBride who displays in his brief scene that he can play the archetype with more humour than Robert Downey Jr.. Due Date is not a strong vehicle for the comical talents that Robert Downey Jr. showed the world in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), and he doesn?t work well with Zach Galifinakis.
Due Date relies heavily on Zach Galifinakis replicating the exact same character he portrayed in The Hangover without actually offering the originality or supporting characters necessary to actually make him find any success in the role. The character is meant to be the idiotic comic relief who comes in at random moments and surprises audiences with his utter stupidity, but Due Date insists that the actor lay it on to excess at a nonstop rate throughout the story. His idiocy is neverending, and it is not as refreshing as it were in The Hangover. Due Date is nothing short of a cash-grab on the basis of the actor?s success rather than a display of what he is actually capable of. There are one or two short moments in the film where we see some dramatic spirit in him which hints at something more capable, but it never has any actual relevance to the overall story. Zach Galifinakis? presence in Due Date confirms that he is not yet ready to go beyond the boundaries of a supporting role, even though people caught up in an obsession with The Hangover will most likely appreciate his return to form for a while.
That being said, Jamie Foxx makes a likable presence with his brief role and Juliette Lewis is a welcome addition given that she portrays the same character she took on in Todd Phillips? Old School (2003).
Due Date has some sporadic moments of comedic flair, but with a generic story centered around two unlikable protagonists and a repetitively one-dimensional sense of cruse humour in place of any actual character development, the experience wears thin very quickly.
Even so, not a must-see-before-you-die kinda film.
It also confirms my suspicion that people will laugh at anything on spec whether it is actually funny or not.
The reunification of director Todd Phillips and his breakout comedy star, Zach Galifianakis, from The Hangover, and the addition of arguably the best American actor today, Robert Downey Jr, made this look like a sure-fire winner going in.
But the reality is that it isn't funny, apart from an occasional chuckle. Instead it is flat, tasteless and derivative with a script that is slapped together knowing that Phillips's infinitely superior previous effort will pull the crowds that feel an obligation to laugh because of the pedigree involved.
The film opens in Atlanta with Peter Highman (Downey Jr) about to catch a flight home to Los Angeles, where his pregnant wife Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) is hoping his return will precede the arrival of their first child.
From the moment Peter steps out of the cab at the airport, things start going wrong.
A walking disaster area has arrived in the form of Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis), whose annoying friendliness and refusal to avoid words like 'terrorist' and 'bomb' while on board an aircraft result in Peter not only being forcibly removed from the plane by air marshals but put on the 'no fly' list.
Worse, with his wallet still at his vacated seat, he has no credit cards, cash, or ID. That's when Ethan comes to the rescue, offering Peter a ride to LA.
Of course you know it is going to turn into the ride from hell with Ethan's inability to act like anything but a giant cliche´, ending more often than not in serious injury for Peter while he remains largely unscathed.
The overarching problem here is that it is pretty much a retread of the infinitely superior John Hughes feature Planes, Trains and Automobiles, resting somewhere in between homage and remake.
That's where the similarity ends though as it lacks the chemistry enjoyed by Steve Martin and John Candy and their characters, the interaction between the two leads here shows no depth or warmth.
In fact it offers no valid reason why we should like two such unappealing people. Instead of going the John Candy route of setting Ethan up as a loveable loser, he is reduced to a detestable irritant, so when the film attempts to soften him and provide an emotional component to his back story failure is inevitable.
They, like the obligatory relationship that develops between him and Peter, reek of Hollywood artifice at its worst. To me Robert Downey Jr is as close to an acting god as you can get, but it is easy to see he is far from his best here.
Playing the straight man in a raunchy, sophomoric comedy is far from the most challenging or fulfilling piece of work and this could be why he brings less verve to it than he has to any recent role, including his Iron Man outings.
Zach Galifianakis seems to have studied his co-star in Dinner for Schmucks, Steve Carell, in creating a repellent, obnoxious and unlikeable character.
The two actors play individuals with an identical critical personality trait - they are irritating beyond belief.
Doubts are starting to creep in about his star turn in The Hangover with his second lightweight effort in a row.
Jamie Foxx, Downey's costar in The Soloist, makes an appearance that is more of an extended cameo than a supporting part. Despite all this there is a readymade audience that will lap up this decidedly second-rate effort, as I said on spec alone.
However, it lacks the freshness or explosive spontaneity of The Hangover, unless you consider an adult punching a child or a masturbating dog, which has been done before, or even someone vomiting on a bullet wound high comedy.
Not in my lifetime I am afraid.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 10/12/2010