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Due Date’ doesn’t disappoint

Ankur Chawla | Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Galifianakis star in this “Rat Race”-like story of a man racing across the country before his wife gives birth to their first-born child. Galifianakis revisits his character as the unintentionally funny guy he played in “The Hangover” and “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” while Downey, Jr. is an arrogant, overambitious architect traveling back to Los Angeles after taking a business trip to Atlanta. The two actors work incredibly well together, feeding off each other nicely in this comedy.

Peter Highman (Downey, Jr.) and Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis) first cross paths as the station wagon Ethan takes to the airport breaks off the door to Peter’s town car as he gets his luggage. Awkward as this was, Peter brushed it off and went to his flight. While sitting before takeoff, anxiously texting his expecting wife, Ethan reminds him to turn off his cell phone because terrorists use phones to set off bombs. This discussion promptly lands the two on the no-fly list, with Peter’s luggage and wallet still on the flight. With no other option, Peter rides in Ethan’s rental car and hilarity ensues.

Plagued by glaucoma, Ethan smokes marijuana more often than students on North Quad buy Starbucks. Speaking of coffee, Ethan carries his father’s ashes with him in a coffee tin and shows his honest and sensitive side to compliment the typical character he plays in every movie. His trusty and inappropriate dog Sunny takes a similar role as Carlos, the just-as-inappropriate baby from “The Hangover.” Inspired by the death of his father, Ethan hopes to go to Hollywood and make it on his favorite TV show, “Two and a Half Men.”

An admitted rage-aholic, Peter lashes out at Ethan and most anyone he comes into contact with, up to and including an Army veteran and a 10-year-old boy. Not the best image for a soon to be father. However, in an understandably frustrating situation, he shows his depth as he warms up to Ethan and practices scenes with him at a rest stop and in the car.

Despite this, “Due Date” did have its downsides. At times the movie got repetitive with the constant back and forth between Ethan and Peter acting completely nonsensically. The filmmakers played too heavily on Galifianakis’ character to provide humor as the ignorant, awkward adult. This was done much in the same way Seth Rogan is always some form of a stoner with his trademark laugh and goofy face. Beyond that, too much of the movie is left with loose ends and meaningless scenes that add little humor and even less plot or character development.

Still, this is a very entertaining, funny and fresh movie worth seeing. No, it is not “The Hangover” in a car, but it is funnier than most of the current alternatives —  “Megamind,” “Life As We Know It,” etc. If you appreciate the ridiculous one-liners from Galifianakis such as “Dad was like a father to me…” and a cute dog companion, you will enjoy this movie more than the first snow of the year.