Director Todd Phillips clearly felt that we were all due another bromance before Hangover 2 came out, so created this vaguely funny comedy to keep us interested in the mean time. But like expectant parents, we would have been happy to wait the full nine months, for a health, bouncing… Hangover 2.
On paper Due Date looks very good. It has a big-and-respected actor, Robert Downey Jr, an up-and-coming comedy star Zach Galifianakis, director of the moment, Todd Phillips, and an open road. The perfect ingredients for the ultimate buddy film right?
Wrong. Perhaps if this was made five years ago, the jokes would have hit us with more impact and the two male friends’ relationship would have been genuinely touching. But unfortunately we didn’t even need this effort at a sore head. We’re still chuckling from The Hangover. That movie worked really well, partly because although it used a tired formula, their take on it was still fresh.
Due Date on the other hand is well past its sell by date. It tells the story of Peter Highman (Downey Jr) an uptight architect trying to get back to LA to be there for the birth of his first child. He’s a neurotic control freak with an extremely short fuse, but although this is comedy his character still seems a bit cardboard. As there’s little of explanation of all this anger and attitude, it’s difficult to sympathise with him.
The unlikely duo meet at the airport after their bags get switched, from there a crazy adventure begins as the pair are forced to travel by road to LA. The film is made up of one crazy event after another, such as falling off a bridge onto the interstate while in a car, eating Ethan’s father’s ashes and being beaten up by an Iraq veteran in the form of Danny McBride.
The same sequence of events, although very slightly varied, happens again and again throughout the film. Ethan does something ridiculously wrong, Peter gets seriously angry, they make up and then Ethan does something ridiculously wrong again. All this of course happens during their race against the clock to get home in time for the birth of Peter’s baby.
Danny McBride is not the only face to pop up in the film, there is also Jamie Foxx, a one time Oscar-winner, playing a completely underdeveloped and pretty much pointless football star and best friend to Peter. Then there is Juliette Lewis who plays a pot dealer. As always she is a pleasure to watch and her scene is one of the most enjoyable in the film.
Although it uses a very tired formula, there are a number of laughs. You will laugh out loud a few times and you’re likely to chuckle to yourself, but it’s more of a knowing chuckle than a health-and-safety-endangering laugh attack.
With most road movies you feel like the characters are not the only ones going on a journey, but that you are too. When watching this type of film, it’s good to be surprised by where we end up by the end of the trip. With Due Date we know our destination right from the start and unfortunately there are one too many bumps on the road to make this a trip worth making.
Due Date is in cinemas now.
Check out the trailer below.