With last year’s The Hangover being one of his biggest successes to date, director Todd Phillips needed to show he can still bring the laughs with his latest comedy, Due Date. Phillips’ once again teamed up with funnyman Zach Galifianakis, adding the usually serious Robert Downey, Jr. to the lineup.
The premise of the movie is fairly generic: Peter Highman, played by Downey, Jr., is a successful architect trying to get home to his pregnant wife, who’s due in only a few days. After a chance meeting with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay, who is played by Zack Galifianakis, Highman is kicked off the plane and forced to travel across the United States with Tremblay and his dog in tow.
The real charm of this movie is the oddball relationship that Highman and Tremblay develop over the hour and forty minutes of screen time.
Galifianakis plays the strange guy very well, but it’s when he’s paired up with a strong, alpha male (think Phil from “The Hangover”) that he’s at his best. His characters’ insecurity in these key moments always produces the best lines—“Highman: I despise who you are on a cellular level. Ethan: Okay, I’ve heard that before and I’m trying to work on it.”
Although Galifianakis’ shows he can still make us laugh, it’s Downey, Jr. who proved to be the comedic force that propelled the movie into some of its best scenes. His character’s impatience, honesty and at times hatred for Tremblay show he’s relatable. When Highman tells Tremblay, “If I miss the birth of my child, I’m going to choke you out with your own scarf”—his anger and frustration is palpable, and that believability is what brings the big laughs.
Overall, it was a funny movie and well worth the money spent to see it in theatres, but it left me thinking there was so much more that could have been done. It won’t reach the status of The Hangover, but it’s been one of the best comedies I’ve seen since.