Star cast: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx
Plot: Robert Downey Jr. is forced to travel with Zach Galifianakis by road, after he misses his Atlanta-Los Angeles flight and loses his wallet. While his wife, who is expecting their child, awaits his arrival, Robert is stuck with an eccentric Zach, who keeps getting into trouble.
What’s Good: Zach’s hilarious portrayal of Ethan Tremblay, an aspiring actor who is brave but an idiot too; excellent screenplay which makes you laugh and also feel bad for poor Zach.
What’s Bad: Nothing really; the editing could have been a little crisper.
Verdict: Due Date is a fun watch and a good film; with Zach Galifianakis’s antics, it makes a perfect Diwali watch for the family!
Loo Break: None really.
Todd Phillips’ Due Date is a comedy about Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) who is heading from Atlanta to Los Angeles to be with his wife, Sarah Highman (Michelle Monaghan), who is due to deliver their baby. On the flight, he gets into an argument with a clumsy and careless aspiring actor, Ethan Tremblay (Zack Galifianakis), and both of them are forced to get out of the aeroplane after they are put on the no-fly list. Peter discovers that his wallet and IDs are missing and he has no choice but to hitch a ride to Los Angeles with Ethan and his canine companion, Sunny, in a rented car. What begins as a choice encounter ends up being a nightmarish cross-country road trip for Peter.
All this while, Ethan Tremblay (whose real name is Ethan Chase; he doesn’t think it will work in Hollywood) continues to have a joyride: he asks Peter a million questions; imitates Marlon Brando from The Godfather after smoking pot (his medicine for glaucoma); sleeps at the wheel on the highway; and laughs at all the wrong things. Peter is flabbergasted at Ethan’s difficult and weird behavior, but he has little choice but to continue on their journey. He also discovers another side of Ethan, that he misses his recently-deceased father and that he can be a good friend in times of need. All this during their tumultuous journey as they bash up cars, jump border posts and embarrass Peter’s friends and his wife, who is waiting with bated breath for Peter’s arrival.
The film’s story, by Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland, is simple but excellent. Though based on the oft-used premise of two strangers with diametrically opposite personalities travelling together, the story has enough meat to keep the audience glued. The screenplay by Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland, Adam Sztykiel and Todd Phillips is very good too. The way the writers have introduced the characters of Peter and Ethan at the beginning of the film and then opened them up, layer by layer, is very engaging. There are enough twists, turns and kicks in the screenplay to tickle your funny bone; even though you more or less know the climax of the film. It also has some wonderfully choreographed action sequences and a few slow but emotional scenes that help make it a wholesome watch.
Robert Downey Jr. does well as the father awaiting his baby’s birth, and as a very irritable man. He is particularly good in the scenes where he is scared of Ethan’s antics but can’t help smiling at his simplicity. Zach Galifianakis, as Ethan Tremblay, takes the cake. He is just brilliant in his portrayal of the weird, childlike and irritating Ethan. All of his scenes are worth remembering, especially because of his eerily funny gait. Michelle Monaghan, as Sarah Highman, and Jamie Foxx, as Darryl, support ably. Special mention must be made of Sunny, the tiny bull dog that Ethan carries around in the film. Put together, Ethan, Peter and Sunny make a perfect trio!
Director Todd Phillips has masterfully managed to maintain the humour of the screenplay, besides extracting good performances from his actors. He manages to maintain an even pace for the film and has given the film a very casual feel (just like his last film, The Hangover). Full marks for his direction.
The cinematography by Lawrence Sher, editing by Debra Neil-Fisher and music by Christophe Beck, all support the director’s vision. The use of rock-n-roll classics, like Pink Floyd, is interesting.
All in all, Due Date makes for a fun watch. Fans of Zach Galifianakis, and anybody else who goes to the cinemas will enjoy the film.