There is something off about Due Date, the first film from director Todd Phillips since his massive hit The Hangover. It has laughs, but the tone is detached in what is basically a formulaic comedy.
Robert Downey Jr. is Peter Highman, an arrogant sort whose wife (Michelle Monaghan) is expecting the couple's first child at any time in Los Angeles. Stuck in Atlanta, Peter has a run-in with Ethan (Zach Galifianakis) as his plane is waiting to take off, and they are both put on the no-fly list. Circumstances again force them together, and the two end up on the road, where all sorts of mayhem and weirdness occur.
The mismatch between the two is supposed to be the spark for the comedy, but there is something slightly nasty about the relationship. Peter is a successful architect with a beautiful wife and house, and Ethan is a lower-class hick, a wannabe actor, whose sensibilities are formed by TV. Peter has no real sympathy for the man, who he thinks is delusional. He simply wants to be rid of him.
Usually, road-trip movies are about having some kind of change, but in Due Date, Phillips seems to be trying to avoid that, which would be interesting if he were to replace it with something else. The sparks between Peter and Ethan continue to fly throughout, and there is a lot of aggressive humor. But whenever the film dives into absurdities, it gets lost.
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Galifianakis' Ethan has a sweet dumbness about him, but that can be irritating, which is what Peter feels. Downey, one of our best actors, is so convincing in his superiority that Due Date becomes an interesting drama at times.
Due Date retails for $28.98, $29.98 on Blu-ray or $35.99 for a DVD-Blu-ray combo.