Due Date (R16)

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Review byMatthew Turner25/11/2010

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 96 mins

Poorly conceived and occasionally questionable comedy that fails to deliver a single decent laugh, despite strong performances from the two leads and colourful supporting turns from the likes of Danny McBride.

What's it all about?
Directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover), Due Date stars Robert Downey Jnr as Peter Highman, a Los Angeles architect with rage issues whose wife Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) is about to give birth to their first child. However, while heading home from a business trip to Atlanta, Peter gets tangled up with irritating aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) and the pair of them wind up on the no-fly list after a misunderstanding before take-off.

With his wallet left behind on the plane, Peter is forced to accept Ethan's offer of a lift across the country. Along the way, the pair have a series of misadventures, including: a pit-stop to buy medical marijuana from a supplier (Juliette Lewis) and her annoying kids; a sleep-induced car crash; a fight with a paraplegic Western Union clerk (Danny McBride); a run-in with cops at the Mexican border; and a mishap involving Peter's best friend (Jamie Foxx) and a coffee can full of Ethan's father's ashes.

The Good
The performances are fine – both actors could easily have gone wildly over the top, but both remain grounded in reality throughout, even if Ethan's levels of stupidity vary wildly according to the script's demands (e.g. “Mexico? I thought it said Texaco.”) There's also strong support from Danny McBride, Juliette Lewis, Jamie Foxx and RZA (as an airport security worker), though Michelle Monaghan is woefully underused as Sarah.

The Bad
Essentially this is a rehash of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, only without the laughs (or, come to think of it, the trains). The film's biggest problem is that it completely misjudges the tone – the masturbation scene (complete with masturbating French Bulldog) is bad enough, but it's hard to warm to a main character who punches a child and spits on a dog.

What's worse is that the script never addresses the idea that someone whose RAGE issues are so bad that he punches an annoying child in the stomach after five minutes, might not be entirely suited to new fatherhood – instead the anger is played for laughs without the consequences ever being examined.

Worth seeing?
Due Date is a painfully unfunny, poorly conceived comedy that falls horribly flat. Re-watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles instead.
Due Date London Premiere

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Due Date (R16)
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Content updated: 29/02/2020 03:07

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