Three buddies wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas, with no memory of the previous night and the bachelor missing. They make their way around the city in order to find their friend before his wedding.
In Atlanta on business, straight-laced and overly analytical architect Peter Highman is flying home to Los Angeles and his wife Sarah for the imminent birth of their first child. However, traveling by plane no longer becomes an option when he and a fellow passenger, aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay, are kicked off the plane, which was caused by Ethan's social inappropriateness, due to being generally unaware, exacerbated by Peter's temper at a situation against his sensibilities. Peter, who ends up without money or his suitcase, is forced to accept Ethan's offer of a shared car ride to Los Angeles, Ethan who is looking for his big acting break. For Peter, this partnership is one made in hell, but he feels he has no other choice. Peter obviously wants to take as direct and as quick a route as possible, while he is at Ethan's mercy as the person with the driver's license, car rental and money. They get into one misadventure after another on this trip, with the same issue at each ... Written by
Alan Arkin filmed scenes as Peter's (Robert Downey, Jr.'s) long lost father, but they did not make the final cut of the film. See more »
Peter says their first stop is Shreveport, Louisiana. Their stop along I-20 is in Madison Parish which is 150 miles from Shreveport. See more »
I just had the strangest dream. It's Friday. We're at the hospital. But it's not a hospital, it's a, a, a forest of sorts. And I know that because right next to you there's a bear. A grizzly, cooling his feet in a stream. And all of a sudden, you begin to deliver, and I can't get to you. But the bear can. And the next thing I know, he is holding our beautiful baby boy. And here's where it gets odd. Uh, he chews the cord. But, strangely, I'm okay with it. That's gotta be a good sign.
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If there was one downside to come out of director Todd Phillips' magnum opus The Hangover, it's that every film he would lend his name to in the future would inevitably be compared to it, and it's fair to say Due Date comes up short in that regard. Saying that, the film has its strengths and the cast delivers an above-average final product, but it does little to stand out amongst most other comedies released in the last decade.
Downey Jnr. plays highly-strung expectant father Peter Highman, whose confrontation with Galifianakis' Ethan Tremblay at the airport results in both men being placed on a no-fly list. With no identification or cash to his name, Peter has no choice but to hitch a ride with Ethan if he wants to get to Los Angeles in time for the birth of his child. Ethan, meanwhile, has plans of making it big in Hollywood as a recurring character on Two And A Half Men, thus fulfilling his lifelong dream.
It almost goes without saying that this film would fall flat if chemistry between the two leads was lacking. Thankfully, both Downey Jnr. and Galifianakis, two of the more comically capable actors of their generation, do a respectable job with their characters. Ethan is particularly well crafted as an individual both physically and verbally funny, but at the same time one who harbours a deep emotional emptiness due to an innate need to make his late father proud of him.
Due Date must have felt like a reunion of sorts for Downey Jnr., who appears alongside three former co-stars in Michelle Monaghan (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), Jamie Foxx (The Soloist) and my favourite actress Juliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers). The first two fill their roles to satisfaction, but I was disappointed with how Lewis was used. Portraying a drug dealer supplying Ethan, who uses marijuana to 'deal with his glaucoma', her role is disappointingly minor, especially considering rumours that her character was meant to be an extension of Heidi from Old School, an earlier, and very funny, Phillips comedy.
For the most part, the film operates as a road trip comedy with a simple plot, which allows it to deviate from the story frequently to deliver humorous set pieces not at all relevant to the final scene. The best example is an escape plan hatched by Ethan to break Peter out of a detention centre when he is suspected of being an illegal immigrant. Of course, the scene plays out in the most ridiculous fashion, and requires a massive suspension of disbelief. But, pointless as they may be, these gags are tolerable due to the light-hearted context of the film, even if some jokes are hit and miss depending on your taste in humour and sense of political correctness.
More than once, you get the impression that Phillips and the rest of the crew are just going through the motions, putting a slightly new spin on otherwise recycled comedy. Overall, however, Due Date concludes nicely, delivering no more and no less that what should be expected.
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