Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis are quite a pair indeed in this road comedy that is just as silly as possible—all while trying periodically to come across as legitimately serious. What does work for Due Date is an odd-couple quality that the two stars share, and from almost the first frame of the film it seems that Peter and Ethan (Robert D. and Zach G., respectively) are set on a crash-course of destruction—both with each other and any other person or situation that is encountered.
When architect Peter is boarding a plane in Atlanta to fly home to Los Angeles and join his wife for the impending birth of their first child, so too Ethan arrives at the airport with the same final destination, albeit for a totally different reason—Ethan is an ‘actor,’ and has plans to make it big in Hollywood. When a chance (or perhaps cursed?) encounter takes place between the two strangers—which quickly blows up into an expulsion from their flight and “no fly list” designation for both—our heroes are forced to join forces and drive cross country together. That Peter is a successful businessman and husband and Ethan is a loser with absolutely no cause other than to annoy and destroy is moot, because the ensuing journey is chalk full of laughs.
Some of this aforementioned humor comes in the form of the obligatory harm-to-body gags and gross jokes, but the rest isn’t actually all that bad… even if the situations the boys perpetually find themselves in—with everything from a dysfunctional drug house visit to a border crossing gone wrong—become increasingly ludicrous and more contrived as the equally cheap and stereotypical plot plays on and on. If there is anything about this particular flick that makes it in any way memorable, that striking point would have to be the already discussed chemistry between the two very different—but equally volatile and wide-ranged—personalities of Downey Jr. and Galifianakis, with the latter decidedly proving again that yes, he can act.
Otherwise, this one runs too long and wasn’t worth the admission price—mainly because all of the best parts were in the preview that also played for so many months in advance of the release that any reasonable person should have seen the writing on the wall; said hypothetical message would have to go something like this:
“This movie really wants to be funny and relevant, but even our star power and interesting shooting locales can’t save what will go down as a one-weekend hit; at least we’ll make a few million on DVD/Blu-Ray sales upon the retail release next month!”
Reviewer’s rating: 2 ½ out of 5 stars