“Due Date” starts off on the wrong foot and concludes with possibly no feet at all. That’s not to say the middle of “Due Date” isn’t funny, but still not as memorable as Phillips last film “The Hangover”
Robert Downey Jr plays Peter; a sly but mannered architect who is heading back to L.A, for the birth of his new child. However when Peter boards the plane, he suddenly gets into a sticky situation, in which he’s accused of making terrorist threats. This puts him on the “no fly” list. Peter now has to get from Alabama to L.A. without a wallet or any clothes. But Peter does have something, Ethan Tremblay – a marijuana smoking, soon to be pursuing actor. This of course sets up the infamous road trip.
In all road trip movies, the people in the car need to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, in order to make a successful comedy. This is true about Peter and Ethan, but I’m not positive the writers of “Due Date” give these two talented actors a fair chance.
The story continues, as it must. Peter and Ethan start to bond, become friends and eventually come to a mutual conclusion that their lives are fucked up. The problem with that is, it takes to long to get to this sad and somber point. From Ethan and his dog masturbating in the car to the scenes where they’re escaping from a Mexican border patrol, “Due Date is a mess”.
And the most frustrating thing about watching a movie is when you’re confused on what it wants to be. Sometime “Due Date” is a raunchy comedy that makes you laugh out loud. Periodically there are melodramatic moments in which Ethan talks about his deceased father. Then there are times that it’s an over the top action film. These themes don’t mix well here.
It’s odd because we have two extremely talented leading actors, doing things that are just quite frankly not that interesting. That’s not to blame the actors. The writing is all over the place. If you want to be a raunchy comedy like “Hot Tub Time Machine”, if you want to be a straight up action film like “The Book of Eli” then do so. But don’t give us a soulless film.
What “Due Date” does have is good supporting performances. Jamie Foxx plays a friend of Peter’s who lends them a truck, when they crash their rental car. Foxx actually does a good job here adding some energy into this film. Also Juliette Lewis steals the one scene she’s in as a drug dealer Ethan goes to when his supply is running low.
The easiest comparison to “Due Date” is obviously “Plaines, Trains, and Automobiles”. But not only is “Due Date” not nearly as funny as the 1987 classic, but also continuously fails to make us care about the characters. We in fact have no sympathy for Peter or his dilemmas. He hits kids in the stomach and spits on dogs. How could anyone relate to such a person?
I suppose “Due Date” may be ok with the general weekend audience, it has some good laughs, but the film didn’t work for me. It’s hastily written, poorly executed and consistently struggles with what it wants to be.