By Samantha Hazen
When you combine the oblivious, “drugged out” humor of Zach Galifianakis, widely known for his portrayal of Alan in The Hangover, with the witty, humorous banter from Robert Downey Jr., you get a pretty decent mix of genuinely funny moments, but also moments that are forced and try too hard. This is the reality of “Due Date.”
The movie has a “Hangover” feel to it, probably because the talented Todd Phillips produced both films. The men randomly end up together because of a plane mishap, and they embark on a road trip in which they frequently stray far from the beaten path. Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) is on his way to Hollywood as an aspiring actor, while Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) is racing the clock to arrive home to Los Angeles in time for the birth of his first child.
Galifianakis plays pretty much a clone of the character we came to love in The Hangover with his flamboyant swagger, curly head of hair, and odd comments. If you love this type of character and can deal with his nonsense for 100 minutes, then you will enjoy this movie at face value. He acts as the friendless, lonely character who gains some laughs with a few trickster moments. This is due in part because of his strange closeness to his adorable dog, Sonny, and his transportation of his father’s remains in a coffee can.
Downey gained some laughs by beating down the seemingly-helpless Ethan. The collaboration is comical in such instances, such as these, for example: Ethan: “My father always had a saying, ‘When a day starts like this, it’s all uphill from here.’” Peter: “Uphill? No, it’s all downhill from here.”
Despite many jokes, there are also many downfalls to this movie. Ethan does not reach a milestone or have any character-changing moments. His static character may bore some viewers. Also, when Galifianakis and Downey Jr. share deep moments talking about their fathers and pasts, it felt a bit forced. The transitioning from humor to sadness was not smooth. There is a hilarious scene in a bathroom in which Peter makes Ethan practice his acting skills by pretending to star alongside Julia Roberts and have to break the news to her character that you have cancer. Ethan bluntly says, “Hi Julia Roberts. I have cancer.” However, when Peter tells Ethan to pretend he is on the phone with his wife who wants a divorce, Ethan breaks down and sheds real tears, at which point the theater became suddenly quiet. I didn’t enjoy laughing hysterically one second and then feeling sad and sympathetic the next.
Due Date’s plot is crazy and unpredictable at times, which is similar to The Hangover’s constantly changing settings and bizarre antics. However, the movie takes its viewers on a road trip with un-relatable, weird circumstances, such as being ambushed by a handicapped former-soldier whose main priority was to make his dinner reservations for 7:00 at Chili’s. It is hard to feel apart of a movie so out of the realm of reality. Though the whole theater wasn’t in constant hysterics, there were a few of us, probably about five, who could not hold back our laughter.