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It’s really hard to find decent, wholesome comedies these days – or at least ones that can make us all laugh with intensity. But now it seems all those are definitely a dying breed. I mean, now there’s just stuff that’s too glamorized, politicized, sexualized and just plain silly and insubstantial. If you’re looking for the former, you’re sure not to find it in Due Date, the latest creation from director Todd Phillips, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, which has its moments but barely manages to put a grin on your face!
The plot essentially concerns businessman Peter (Downey) who is trying to get to Los Angeles in order for the birth of his child. But something goes wrong. After finding out his bags were accidentally swapped with a Hollywood wannabe Ethan (Galifianakis), there is a security issue. Peter sees Ethan again on the flight, and they exchange a few words which put them on a “no fly” list. From then on, it all gets crazy. Finding out he has no wallet or ID, Ethan meets up with Peter and they end up driving to Los Angeles together. The trip isn’t smooth, and they end up going through a number of situations that compromise their relationship, switching vehicles, among other disastrous circumstances, and they finally make it West.
The plot is a mess. It’s full of subplots that are tedious and don’t help the overall story. While I can see they are for comedic relief, the humor in them is so dull and cliché that the movie could very easily have done without them, if you can even call them humorous.
Which brings me to my next point. Comedy exists to captivate an audience into a good mood and collective laughter. This movie seldom does that. Except for a few scenes between Peter and Ethan, the humor pretty much falls flat. Not once did I see an instance where the writers even attempted to slide in a decent joke that really made any sense, or was, in my opinion, actually laughable. It got to the point where the pathetic nature of the jokes became laughable. The jokes were just very disorganized, raunchy, and, dare I say it, in bad taste. All too often, we’ve seen recently that comedies like this just don’t fly.
As far as the acting, I will say that Downey and Galifianakis really do attempt to do their parts well. Downey, who was recently seen in Iron Man 2, actually does a decent job with his role. He’s always been known to play a tough, level-headed man, and it really shows here. Galifianakis does a good job too playing a guy who doesn’t care and loves to live life at the expense of others, a role for which he has also been known. They just got caught up in a bad script; so, in a way, I can’t help but say that their talents were almost wasted on this movie.
The one aspect of the film that does seem to succeed is the level of sentimentality between Downey’s and Galifianakis’s characters. Two guys on the road sharing laughter and, inevitably, tears is something that touches the heart. At times it seems to make up for the bad jokes as well.
So, this movie is another comedy that tries way too hard, and aims to please, but misses the mark. There’s no laughter packed into this movie, and the humor will leave you very confused, and sometimes annoyed. Don’t waste your time on this movie.