By: Lauren Cohen, The Campus Movie Guru (University of Miami)
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The road trip comedy has been done before. Maybe even too many times. And I’m not going to lie, it’s been done a lot better than Due Date. What Due Date does manage to offer up though is a handful of some pretty great laughs, especially if you’re a fan of Zach Galifianakis’ strange, signature humor. After an incident occurs causing father-to-be Peter (Robert Downey Jr) and aspiring actor Ethan (Galifianakis) to be removed from the plane (and onto the “No Fly” list), Peter, desperate to get home to his pregnant wife whose due date is quickly approaching, gives in to his only option to make it home on time: to hitch a ride with Ethan.
Due Date carries on the same comedy trend that we saw over the summer (and a million times before that) in Dinner For Schmucks–the trend being that whole “everything’s going wrong” kind of humor that makes you laugh and want to pull your hair out at the same time. Both have characters that are such train wrecks and so lost in their own worlds that you find it hard to believe anyone would be able to put up with them. What Due Date did succeed in, and in which Shmucks did not, was that the film made it pretty clear about Peters loathing towards Ethan and gave him a pretty air-tight reason for putting up with all of Ethan’s bullshit. What it didn’t succeed in, however, was making Peter likable. He’s a serious, terse asshole—but in his defense, it’s pretty easy to be an asshole when you’re dealing with someone so off his hinges that he repeatedly says “bomb” on a plane that’s getting ready for take off. Ethan of course has no idea what a weirdo he really is; He walks with an air of obnoxious self-assurance, chin raised up and scarf flipped femininely over his shoulder. I would have preferred some more realism to be injected into the plot, instead of those scenes that filmmakers often seem to find funny (but really aren’t) involving a paraplegic man violently beating the crap out of Peter for no reason, and a car crash so incredibly severe that there’s no way either guy would have ever, ever survived. While Due Date has nothing on Old School or The Hangover (both also directed by Todd Phillips), when the movie found its groove, it was exactly what the person in me craving another Hangover was looking for–a masturbating dog being the highlight of the entire film.
I do have to give it credit though, because there’s something to be said about a movie that ditches the cliched “our meeting each other irrevocably changed our lives” route for a more subtle (and believable) “YES! We survived each other!” one, while having the characters find both a mutual respect for one another and a small friendship in the process. But keep in mind, if you’ve seen the trailers, then you should know what you’re getting yourself into. If crude comedy/Galifianakis humor is your thing, you’ll get some (if not as much as you hoped for) out of the film for sure. And if it’s not your kind of humor, then all I can say is: you better check your movie choice before you wreck your movie choice.