Due Date Directed by Todd Phillips Todd Phillips Hangover, with nice characters and lamer jokes

The Plod Couple: An inspired pairing in Due Date quickly resorts to cheap laughs.

You’re either going to love or loathe Zach Galifianakis when he puts himself into Todd Phillips’ hands. In The Hangover, Galifianakis’ borderline-pedophiliac, mentally challenged man-child was annoying enough to sink the movie. (Yes, the most successful R-rated comedy of all time does have some detractors.) And in Due Date, Galifianakis plays a gentler version of more of the same. His Ethan Tremblay is a 23-year-old (!) aspiring actor with a pocket pooch and the demeanor of a six-year-old kid. This time, at least, he’s occasionally funny instead of just irritating. In Phillips’ follow-up to his box-office smash, Ethan’s the thorn in an expectant father’s side from the time they meet disastrous at an airport. Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) is trying to get back to Los Angeles in time for the birth of his first child. Ethan, meanwhile, is trekking to “Hollywood” to pursue his ain’t-gonna-happen dream. A car accident, bag mix-up, and light tussle on the plane gets both of them on the no-fly list, and with Peter’s wallet buried in his confiscated luggage, he has little choice but to accept Ethan’s offer to drive cross-country in his rented car. Near homicide, naturally, ensues. Four scripters’ efforts (including one responsible for the horrendous Made of Honor) result in a tone that’s all over the place: There are light Odd Couple-esque squabbles, dark humor, and, when all original ideas seem to have been exhausted about halfway through the film, strenuous wackiness à la car crashes and ridiculous schemes. Galifianakis is more likable here than he was in his breakout Hangover role—Ethan’s insistence on rules, such as not letting anyone touch his luggage in an airport, is mildly amusing—but it’s Downey’s wry, tightly wound, foul-mouthed bitterness that earns the best and most surprising laughs. (Bet you never thought you’d giggle at a grown man punching a kid in the gut.) Running jokes such as a coffee-can urn and that damn dog lose their bite quickly, however, as does the film in the aggregate. What starts out as an inspired coupling turns into another hate-you-love-you buddy flick, a moratorium on which is long overdue.

Our Readers Say

"Hangover" was a funny movie because of Zach. Maybe you should watch it again.
I've wanted to see it again, but honestly Zach's character was a huge turn-off for me the first time. I do think he's talented, though.
Has Tricia ever seen Planes, Trains & Automobiles? 'Cos it should be up in red lights for any review of this movie, and she didn't mention it once!
Why would you put "Hollywood" in quotation marks? That's the actual name of the place to where Ethan is going. And in what context did Zach Galifanakis "sink" The Hangover? That is not a matter of opinion. The movie was successful and was not sunk in any way. Maybe that was an ironic play on words that those of us in "Colorado" cannot grasp.
Excellent movie zach is incredible. what actor can go double role playing (being zach being a bad actor) when he just proved he in an ingenius actor. Siskel would have been in awe...
tricia how can you say you will giggle at a man hitting a child are you kiding this movie was rubbish with no funny moments ,why robert downey played in this crap i do not know.

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