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Movie Review: Due Date

Warner Bros, Rated R

A post-9/11 reproductive countdown road movie, Due Date rummages for laughs by pairing two eccentric comic actors, who should probably never be in the same room together for even a short time, for a long cross-country drive. Reluctantly paired for the duration is Robert Downey, Jr. as a neurotic dad-to-be at any moment, and Zach Galifianakis as his eager-for-companionship Chaplin-esque worst nightmare.
And, as a somewhat scary premonition in the movie, Peter Highman (Robert Downey, Jr.), relates to his very pregnant wife (Michelle Monaghan) in California—over the phone, hundreds of miles away—a bad dream in which a bear comes along and wolfs down the baby’s umbilical cord. Enter Galifianakis as Ethan Tremblay. It’s one of the few and far between funny pit stops on this road trip that is monotonus even before it’s begun, when the not-as dumb-as-he-seems Tremblay switches luggage with Highman at the Atlanta airport to elude detection of his weed stash.

Evoking Downey’s indignant reply, “I’ve never done drugs in my life.”
And when they’re tossed out of the airport after ending up on the no-fly list for terrorist small talk, Highman resigns himself to hitching a rental car ride with Tremblay—who happens to have in tow a pet pooch, and his recently deceased father’s cremated remains in a coffee can. The rest of the slimly plotted travel itinerary for the mismatched mates is, let’s just say, mostly duller than a jaunt down the LA freeway in rush hour, although Jamie Foxx turning up during a detour along the way, recharges the sagging laughs with some briefly replenishing comedic energy.
One running theme kicking in from time to time is Tremblay’s ludicrous aspiration to take Hollywood by storm, and arrive there with head shots of himself as, among others, a Malcolm X look-alike. Highman objects emphatically, “Hollywood is not paved with gold, it’s paved with the carcasses of imbeciles like you.” Reality check, please.

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