My son helped me find a way to summarize this movie when he held an imaginary carrot and said, “Eh, what’s up, doc?”
Yes, “Due Date” would make a memorable Looney Tune at a running time of seven minutes and starring Daffy Duck as the too-tightly wound, irascible one, and Porky Pig as the goofball with annoying habits. At 100 minutes and directed by lucky hack Todd Phillips … well, guys, we have a problem.
I call Phillips lucky because he directed “The Hangover,” and a hack because he also made “Road Trip,” “School for Scoundrels” and “Starsky & Hutch.”
In this one, Daffy is named Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr., “Iron Man 2″). He’s in Atlanta on business and has to fly home to El Lay because his wife, Sarah (Michelle Monaghan, “Eagle Eye”), is giving birth in five days, via C-section, to their first child. Porky is called Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis, “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”). Because he keeps talking about terrorists and bombs, he gets thrown off the plane along with Peter, who doesn’t know him.
Peter’s wallet is in his baggage “ you don’t carry your wallet with you when you fly? “ which continues on to California. Since Ethan is now is the only one with money and an ID, Peter decides to share his rental car for the trip. Bad/silly/dangerous things happen to them, not one of which is in the least believable.
The problem with the film is that none of the things that occur come inevitably from the characters, such as they are. Peter and Ethan are stereotypes, which is not unusual in farce, and a lot of effort is extended repeatedly in making the two men seem more humanly likable, but none of it ever works.
How can we care about them if we don’t like them, and how can we like them when they’re not real, and how can they seem real when everything they do is mechanical and in response to mechanical plot contrivances?
The script is by a committee of four people, two of whom wrote for TV’s “American Dad” “ any wonder this thing resembles a cartoon? I don’t think any of them ever said, “What would these characters do next?” instead of ignoring character and going for the cheap laugh.
Yes, someone easily could get lost driving through Dallas, but then would he stay on the wrong highway all the way to the Mexican border? Really? When the fastest route from Atlanta to Los Angeles doesn’t even pass through Dallas? But I guess you have to put the guys in Texas to get them to Mexico. It’s all mechanical.
It’s essentially a two-person film, but Jamie Foxx (“Valentine’s Day”), Juliette Lewis (“Conviction”) and Danny McBride (TV’s “Eastbound & Down”) contribute amusing extended cameos to the proceedings.
The picture does contain some laughs, but it’s a waste of Downey and just more of the same for Galifianakis. Only if you’re bored. “Doug Bentin