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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

'Due Date' misses mark

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Zach Galifianakis (left) as Ethan Tremblay and Robert Downey Jr. as Peter Highman in "Due Date".
What happens when you combine Ironman and that Zach guy from "The Hangover"? In the case of "Due Date," you get a very cookie cutter comedy that has its share of laughs, but can't sustain its fire for its barely hour-and-a-half run time.

The tragedy of "Due Date" is you have two wonderful actors who are great at what they do, but for some reason it doesn't work. I believe what hinders this movie, like so many others, is the best elements of the film have already been revealed in trailers and clips. What results are very long beats between laughs, making the film seem much longer than its said one hour and 40 minutes.

Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) is just days away from the birth of his first child when he crosses paths with Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis). After a mishap on the plane while boarding, the duo are thrown off the plane and put on the national no-fly list. Now Peter has to find an alternative method to get from Atlanta to Los Angeles.

Enter Tremblay.

With his wallet and bags left on the plane, Peter must resort to carpooling with Ethan and his dog Sunny to get home to his expectant wife. Of course, the two are polar opposites, which provides the catalyst for the road trip hijinks that ensue.

I can't say too much more about the plot of the movie, because that's basically it. Bad things happen and the funny follows -- a pretty simple recipe for chuckles. What brings the movie down is the moments between laughs are dull. There are a few scenes that are touching, but not enough to sustain the movie.

The weird thing about the movie looking back is everything should have worked. Downey is his charming self, Galifianakis is perfectly bizarre and the story itself isn't too bad. So what was its downfall? Transition.

The transitions between the funny moments are weak for the most part and give the movie a herky-jerky feel.

That being said, the movie has more than its share of scenes that will leave you howling. In addition to the laughs you've seen in the trailer and clips, the moment that had me bust a gut involved Peter connecting with a youth when Ethan stops off for some glaucoma medication.

Overall, "Due Date" has its laughs, but the writers could have done a better job connecting the giggles by giving us something more in between. Maybe in the long run it is the time of the scenes between laughs. Either way, the formula got screwed up and instead of happy bubbles we got a concoction that fizzles strong at times, but in the end fizzles itself into nothing.

Final Cut: "Due Date" will nab its fair share of the box office, but I'm not sure it will snare the adoration of its audience. Laughs go along way in Hollywood, but this film has too much lacking between chuckles to keep one engaged. A surprising misfire.

3 out of 5 Stars

Due Date

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monahgan, Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis

Director: Todd Phillips

Writer: Adam Sztykiel (Screenplay/Story), Alan R. Cohen (Screenplay/Story), Alan Freedland (Screenplay), Todd Phillips (Screenplay)

MPAA Rating: R for language, drug use and sexual content

Running Time: 1 hr. 40 min.

In theaters Friday