Wednesday, December 01, 2010

DUE DATE - Watch Out For The Dog!

DUE DATE (comedy)
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Julliette Lewis, Michelle Monaghan and Jamie Foxx
Director: Todd Phillips
Script: Alan R. Cohen & Alan Freedland and Adam Sztykiel & Todd Phillips
Time: 100 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)

Zach Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr in DUE DATE

PREAMBLE: Due Date is apparently meant for American viewers at Thanksgiving time (in November) when homecoming crowds recall John Hughes' 1987 hit Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Indeed, we may even regard this odd-couple road trip filck asTodd Phillips' homage of sorts to the late Hughes, considering that imitation as the better form of flattery.

Unfortunately, Due Date is not as memorable as the Hughes hit despite the presence of Robert Downey Jr - one of my favourite thespians.

THE SKINNY: Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr) is about to catch a flight home from Atlanta to Los Angeles, where his pregnant wife, Sarah (Michelle Monaghan), is awaiting his arrival for the birth of their first child. However, as soon as Peter runs into Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) at the airport, things start going wrong.

One thing leads to another and Peter is not only being forcibly removed from the plane by air marshals but put on the "no fly" list. Worse, he has misplaced his wallet and he has no credit cards, cash, or I.D. That's when Ethan comes to the rescue, offering Peter a lift in his rented car to L.A. And that's when the proverbial nightmare trip begins...

HITS AND MISSES: I cannot fault Downey Jr for playing the straight but hollow man in this raunchy comedy that offers limited scope for his kind of talent. There is no doubt that the script is more favourable to Galifianakis' character and even to his canine co-star. However, Galifianakis' Ethan manages to be more annoying than funny, leaving us with a bitter taste over his incredibly irritating personality. The scripters are not sure whether they want us to like Ethan or want to bash his head in - so they include both.

Not the dog though. The pug gets the heartiest laugh of the film during a masturbation sequence. Why he even puts the other supporting stars to shame. Like Jamie Foxx, who has a cameo as Peter's old pal, and Monaghan (pictured) as his expectant wife. Looks like Phillips, who gave us The Hangover last year, is not up for a repeat performance at the box-office with this one.

THE LOWDOWN: What can I say about a movie in which the dog gets the best laugh?


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