Robert Downey Jr. has been riding high since being cast as Tony Stark in the Iron Man films, in which he showcases a wit and charm that seemingly no one (male or female) can resist. Zach Galifianakis, playing the tubby, bumbling buffoon Alan in The Hangover, has likewise become famous enough to merit Halloween costumes after his character. So it seems like a perfect storm architectured by studio heads to make another Hangover type hit by combining these actors for a comedy romp road trip. Unfortunately, there’s no lightning or thunder, just a few static shocks and a light rain.
Downey Jr. plays Peter Highman, who is trying to get to Los Angeles for the birth of his first child. However, Peter bumps into Ethan Trembley (Galifianakis) and gets tossed onto the No Fly List. Ethan offers to escort Peter to the West Coast via rental car, and many shenanigans ensue.
One of Downey Jr.’s greatest comedy performances is the little known Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, which had a phenomenal script by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, The Monster Squad), and allowed Downey Jr. to play that role like comedy jazz. Due Date doesn’t have that ink and paper foundation, which means the film putts along rather than flying down the highway with laughter Dopplering in its wake. Some parts felt improvised, which works exceptionally well for Adam McKay (Anchorman), but not so much for Due Date.
One of the cardinal sins a marketing department can commit against a film audience is the inclusion of all the best laughs in the trailer. Such a sin has been committed for Due Date. Great for those who haven’t seen the trailer, a rip-off for those who have.
Due Date is something you might like if you’re flipping channels and come across it, but it fails to incite the proverbial laugh riot of Anchorman or even the flurry of comedic punches from The Hangover. If you’re desperate to watch a film, you might have a pleasant time with Due Date, but I would be disappointed if I paid $10 to see this.