I can tell you right now, there will be a lot of people who don’t like Due Date. I for one thought it was amongst the funniest films of 2010, but I bet you can find a large number of people who hate it. The reason is Todd Phillips. Phillips, the director of Due Date, has a distinct style of humour. You either find it funny or you don’t. At least that’s how I see it. The man is responsible for some of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. Old School, The Hangover, Road Trip etc. To be blunt, if you’ve seen a Todd Phillips film before and left unimpressed, you probably won’t enjoy Due Date. But, if you enjoy the man’s movies, Due Date is a real treat.
Being a big fan of Phillips, I was very excited to check out Due Date. I knew it would be great and the only question that remained was that of if he could top The Hangover, which is hands down one of the funniest films I have ever seen. After having watched Due Date twice, I think it’s equal to The Hangover. Different in a few ways, but equally as funny and highly entertaining.
The film tells the story of Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.), who is an expectant first time father. His wife’s due date is five days away and he’s currently on his way home from a work related trip. As he rushes to catch a flight home, he runs into Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis). Ethan’s not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed and he ends up landing himself and Peter on the no-fly list. In a rush to get back for his wife’s due date, Peter decides to drive back. While he intends to make the drive alone, circumstances arise that lead him to end up hitching a ride with Ethan. And so the two embark on a road trip across the country as they rush home so Peter can see the birth of his child.
As you can guess, hi-jinxes and shenanigans ensue and obviously nothing goes according to plan. Some nice appearances by Jamie Foxx, Danny McBride and director Todd Phillips himself, make things even more interesting and for the entire 95 minute runtime we are assaulted with laugh out loud scenarios and straight up hilarious dialogue that is sure to leave you in stitches.
The humor here, as expected, is pretty gutsy, and aside from one scene, it never falls into the ridiculous realm. There is one scene that is just so implausible and unbelievable that it sticks out like a sore thumb, but aside from that, the humor is very very good. Some of the situations feel a bit contrived but it’s easily overlooked. Most of what is here is very funny, despite being offensive and straight up odd at times. Phillips pushes the film forward at quick pace, throwing in joke after joke, constantly evoking laughter from the audience. Powering it all is the phenomenal chemistry between two of the most entertaining actors out there, Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis.
Downey Jr. is simply incredible, in any role he plays. The charisma he exudes in his films is unmatchable and he manages to be funny without so much as lifting a finger. All the subtle nuances, whether it be facial expressions, body language, voice tone, everything, it’s all pulled off perfectly and it makes for an immensely enjoyable performance.
As for Galifianakis, his character is stranger than that of his character in The Hangover, and he pulls off the ‘so stupid you want to punch him’ personality perfectly. He borders on being too irritating but watching him annoy Peter is just too amusing that you can’t really hate him. The interplay between Downey Jr. and Galifianakis is hysterical and they play off each other perfectly. There is also a good amount of improv here that flows seamlessly into the film. Both actors have fun with the material and they make for a great pairing.
The film does delve into more sentimental moments at times, which kind of kills the pacing. They feel forced and phony but it’s never too disruptive. That being said, one moment in particular that takes place near the end of the film is just so contrived that it makes us wonder what Phillips is going for. Is he trying to be heartfelt, or simply being facetious?
I can see why a lot of critics hate this one. There’s enough here for them to pick apart, but like I said before, if you like Phillips’ films, you’re going to love this one. He uses the same formula as usual and thanks to two strong leads, it works like a charm. Due Date is one date you don’t want to miss!
Making things even more enjoyable is the wonderful transfer here, in both the audio and video departments. Terrific detail and and a stunning crispness will catch your eye almost immediately. Clarity is excellent as is contrast, and colours also come off nicely, looking balanced and authentic. Flesh tones appear to be accurate and there isn’t much grain here. All in all, a near flawless transfer.
Audio follows the same suit. Like usual, Phillips puts together a great soundtrack for the film and all the songs sound fantastic. Dialogue is clear and never overshadowed and dynamics don’t let audiences down. Ambient effects are impressive and when surrounds kick in, they sound great. Like the video, the audio is near flawless.
Where the disc lets down, is in the special features. Here’s what we get.
- Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel
- Too Many Questions
- Action Mash-Up
- The Complete Two and a Half Men Scene
- BD-Live Functionality
As you can probably tell, it’s all useless. I hate to say it but there is nothing useful. The gag reel and deleted scenes are throwaway like usual and Too Many Questions and Action Mash-Up are just garbage montages that don’t provide anything worthwhile. Lastly, there is the complete Two And A Half Men scene which again, isn’t worth watching. Very very disappointing set of special features.
Parts of Due Date will undoubtedly have you laughing out loud while other parts may have you grinning real wide. I haven’t laughed this hard in a film in a very long time. Downey Jr. and Galifianakis just work so well together and some of the things that occur here are simply too funny that they’re bound to leave even the most jaded critics chuckling. There are a couple of scenes that don’t work but it’s just a minor problem in what is otherwise a great comedy, and certainly among 2010’s best. Love him or hate him, Phillips always delivers, and with Due Date, he’s right on time!
Due Date is absolutely hilarious! Downey Jr. and Galifianakis are perfect together and the film is wildly entertaining.