By Helen Mannion
Bring two completely different actors together, stick them in a car and send them across the county. Sounds promising, right?
Directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover), Due Date is a road trip comedy that brings workaholic and expectant father Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man) and goofy, irritable, aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis, The Hangover) together for a cross-country excursion where hilarity and danger ensue.
After an incident with Tremblay while boarding a flight home, Highman lands on the no-fly list. With no money, identification or belongings, Highman is forced to drive from Atlanta to Los Angeles with Tremblay to make it home in time for the birth of his first child with his wife (Michelle Monaghan, Gone Baby Gone).
The trip starts off normally, with the two men making their first pit stop at a Waffle House restaurant. Tremblay reveals intimate details about his life to Highman, such as his dream to act on the TV show Two and a Half Men and how he was in Atlanta for his father’s funeral. Tremblay pulls out a coffee tin full of his father’s ashes and shares his desire to set them free over the Grand Canyon. This leads to one of the many arguments between the two, which are the highlights of the film.
The men travel on, making another stop at a drug dealer for Tremblay so he can purchase marijuana for his glaucoma. This scene allows Downey to exercise his comedic abilities and was one of the more memorable moments of the film.
The movie continues along the same path: stop, commence shenanigans, continue on. The pattern repeats throughout the film but it’s tied together seamlessly with angry rants from Highman and nonsensical one-liners from Tremblay.
Another one of the more memorable moments comes when Tremblay falls asleep while driving. He causes a major accident that lands both him and Highman in the hospital with no way to get to Los Angeles. Luckily, Highman’s football player friend Darryl (Jamie Foxx, Ray) is there to lend them a car and some money so they can continue their journey.
A run-in with the Mexican border patrol and a car chase later, Highman and Tremblay end up at the Grand Canyon. Tremblay briefly shows his serious side and delivers a moving speech about his father. While he is playing essentially the same character as in The Hangover, Galifianakis proves he can perform dramatic scenes as well as comedic ones.
While the men are at the Grand Canyon, Highman’s wife calls, as she is going into labor early. Highman and Tremblay drive all night and make it just in time for the birth and everyone lives happily ever after, ironically enough.
The movie itself has many funny moments, but it’s not the next The Hangover. Downey’s character was hilarious and it was refreshing to see him in something other than an action movie. However, some aspects, like Galifianakis’ character and his one-liners, seemed a little stale.
Despite its recycled material, this Due Date is one you don’t want to miss.