No Crowning Achievement

Due Date breaks water, no new ground

The filth wake of a new Jackass film makes other movies’ attempts to shock with ribald humor futile, even with dialogue like “I vomited in the wound.” Nice try, Due Date, but Steve-O practically gargled human feces. Too unimaginative to be risqué, director Todd Philips has made a “blender” film; you know, where they make an acceptable-but-not-delicious cinematic smoothie by pureeing superior ingredients into one shapeless discolored but drinkable mess. It takes a village to raise a child, and it took four writers to steal from Planes, Trains & Automobiles and The Hangover, from which the producers even stole an actor. Zach Galifianakis, who should ask Jack Black about the legal limit on the number of times a comedian can repeat the same performance, plays Ethan Tremblay. The difference between the good-hearted, dangerous man-child that is Ethan and Alan, the character Galifianakis played in The Hangover, is that one is named Ethan and the other is named Alan. Because Ethan is a ridiculous cartoon, he somehow manages to get expectant father Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) tossed off a plane and put on a no-fly list. Because the plot requires them to do so, the two wind up having to rapidly travel across country in an attempt to get Peter home in time to see his wife (Michelle Monaghan) produce his progeny. Do they make it? Do they become weird friends? Is there a bevy of masturbation jokes, including multiple shots of a dog making like a lonely prison inmate, and brief, mostly unfunny cameos from marginally famous actors and actresses? A gentleman never tells. Yes. Look, Due Date isn’t bad. It isn’t interesting enough to be bad. The best description is that it feels like a classic comedy from which someone cut the most memorable scenes. It’s perpetually marginally amusing, but whenever an epic moment is needed, the film resorts to barely passable physical gags, most involving “Looney Tunes” car crashes. Due Date takes place on the same plane of reality as “The Office,” in that it sure seems like our world, but people can do anything without actual consequence. Downey Jr. is charming, and Galifiankis is funny. And if Downey Jr. and Galifianakis were as charming and funny as they seem to think they are, maybe the sins of Due Date would be absolved. Instead, the film is just an unlikable douche and a stoner one-beard heavier than Forrest Gump bumbling around as you ask “are we there yet?” Grade: C-

posted at 11:28 am
on Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

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