“Due Date” Delivers Laughs

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

If you thoroughly enjoyed watching Alan (Zach Galifianakis) deliver his one-man wolf pack speech and his odd ways in “The Hangover,” you’ll probably enjoy “Due Date,” a comedy directed by Todd Phillips about two men who end up going on a road trip while encountering major roadblocks along the way.

Robert Downey Jr. stars as Peter Highman, a successful architect and husband who just wants to get to Los Angeles in time for his wife’s pregnancy. Of course, things don’t go as planned: Peter bumps into accident-prone and “supposed actor” Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis) who stalls his journey and makes his life a living hell.

Peter’s plan to get to his pregnant wife in time disintegrates once he gets kicked off a plane, loses his credit card, and is forced to hit the road with none other than Ethan, a chubby guy decked in a blue scarf and skinny jeans who carries medicated marijuana, a dog who can’t stop masturbating and his beloved father’s ashes in a coffee jar.

Although “Due Date” doesn’t quite top “The Hangover,” Phillips works with a great team of actors that mirror the same sense of humor as in “The Hangover” – but without the tigers and missing teeth.

I must admit that I surely missed the crew of bachelors making asses of themselves by being drugged the day before their best friend’s wedding. But “Due Date” has the same inertia – if not more – because it centers on the growing companionship between two opposite characters from different walks of life, which makes the movie interesting from the start.

Despite the fact that Peter is seen as a grouchy businessman, Downey, Jr. still manages to deliver a superb performance by demonstrating some tender moments in the film despite being irritated by Ethan, who rubs his bare belly against his face on the plane.

Although Peter’s wife (Michelle Monaghan) and friend Darryl (Jamie Foxx) are included for only a minimal part of the film, their performances are laudable and suit their respective characters.

I was a bit dubious when it came to seeing this film because I felt as if it was probably not going to hit the peak of distinction that “The Hangover” achieved.

However, Phillips succeeds by keeping his audience invested in the film as he creates a story that is comical, yet touching. You never truly know what’s going to happen next: is the dynamic duo going to go to prison for breaking numerous laws? Is Peter going to miss the birth of his baby and subsequently decide to blame it all on Ethan?

Even though the film itself resembles an all-too-familiar feel of “The Hangover” (the whole idea of going on a perilous road trip to California and meeting speed bumps along the way), “Due Date” maintains its originality with its dialogue and contrasting character personalities.

There are definitely some scenes that could have been eliminated from the script like the moment when Peter is stoned in the car and starts hallucinating by mistakenly believing that Ethan is a bear.

However, the cinematography, music choice and character development do make up for some of the overdone moments in the film.

The setting is varied, which really gives the film energy and life. It takes the audience to the border of Mexico (or “Texico” as Ethan puts it), to a bathroom near a gas station where Peter tests Ethan on his “acting,” the Grand Canyon, to the roads of Texas and beyond.

Although some of the jokes in “Due Date” are cheesy, actors Downey Jr. and Galifianakis do justice for the film by proving that “opposites do indeed attract.”

In essence, “Due Date” tests how far one will go when forced into a situation with someone you truly dislike. Will you wreck your brain in the process or will you achieve a sense of calm and forgiveness?

“Due Date” is definitely worth the money. I enjoyed the return of Galifianakis to the big screen. If you’re in the mood for some familiar humor, be sure to check this movie out.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5