Saturday, January 01, 2011
#18: Due Date
I'd mentioned somewhere on this blog that if ever you want a movie on a good road adventure, you should blindly pick up a Todd Philips movie. Due Date is a great example why that has so far been unfailingly true.
Due Date is a movie about the journey of Peter Highman( Robert Downey Jr.) who is on his way from Atlanta to visit his wife who is due in a couple of days time. During his visit to the airport, a chance encounter brings him face to face with Ethan Trembay ( Zach Galifiniakis), an aspiring actor whose only real role model in life is Charlie Sheen's character from Two and a Half Men.. While the story is as simple as that, the journey for Peter doesn't quite turn out to be that simple. A minute into the flight that these two gentlemen take towards L.A., an unforeseen incident sees them grounded at the airport and that's where the adventures of these two men begin.
Ethan from here on is the guy who will evoke laughs even if he's not uttering a syllable. Whether it's his costumes, his peculiar walk, his lines or just the idiotic way of going about his life, the script has been written to make him the hero of every scene he's in. Peter, on the other hand, is your average sensible professional who can't curse himself enough for having taken the help of Ethan on his journey. While the movie could've done away with some silly gags, that involve those of a dog pleasuring himself, there are enough funny moments that will ensure you've a good time till the end credits roll. The chemistry between Downey Jr. and Galifiniakis in their conflicting styles of business is what provides the movie an unmatched impetus compared to any other comedy in 2010. While Zach excels in a custom-made role filled with idiosyncrasies, Downey Jr. does himself a lot a credit by effortlessly playing the second fiddle.
Director Todd Philips know his strengths of putting his characters in awkward middle-of-nowhere situations and seeing them come through to the final destination. It's something he began with Road Trip in 2001, perfected with The Hangover in 2009 and now is putting the cherry on the cake with Due Date in 2010. The other element that he specializes in is writing/selecting a great set of lines and jokes that linger in your mind even after you've left the hall. A case in point, is an emotional Ethan, choked with tears, looking at the can with his father ashes just before he throws them into the Grand Canyon and reflectively saying: 'Dad... you were like a father to me....! "
It's moments like these that make Due Date an eminently enjoyable watch. It's something that you can watch in any mood and be sure that when the movie's over that you would be laughing.