Saturday, November 06, 2010

"Due Date" (2010) - Movie Review

While people may state the resemblance of “Due Date” to a much better film “Planes, Trains & Automobiles”, for me I would state it to anther film I adore. “Due Date” does not comes even close to the classic I would compare it to, “Midnight Run”. Todd Phillips after his humungous box office success and critically acclaimed comedy “The Hangover” comes back with the right pair. Who else could play a sophisticated jerk than Robert Downey, Jr. and who else could be the morbidly offbeat and unpredictably weird softy than Zach Galifianakis? Well, I could find a few name for the latter though.

“Due Date” is the road trip buddy comedy with good writing yet it flounders like a frustrated baby in the middle. Peter (Robert Downey, Jr.) is going back home to Los Angeles from Atlanta to his pregnant wife (Michelle Monaghan) while the disaster ball Ethan (Zach Galifianakis) boards the same plane. With the eventual case of being thrown off board due to Ethan’s simple interaction with Peter, the two strangers are bound by the script to travel together and reach the Los Angeles at the right moment for the delivery.

So everyone agrees upon this plot and all are in for the road trip fun. Ethan as we learn is an aspiring actor who has just lost his father and is also a great fan of the sitcom “Two and Half Men”. Both Peter and Ethan are jerks of different kind. While Peter is sharp with judgments and betrayals, Ethan is a complete mess living in a disillusioned world amongst pot and his dog Sunny. Ethan’s destruction are physical up to accidentally killing someone in worst cases while Peter could learn a thing or two about being nice without condescension and ego.

The best thing about “Due Date” are these sinusoidal trend of being likable and hatable in between these two on several instances throughout the film. Is not that how we deal with people too? We have our worst moments and the best ones leaving us wondering how to judge them. Here it is all in the extremes. An annoying conversation in the plane with Ethan ends with the result of being into the no fly list for Peter while the same guy is also offered a lift by Ethan till Los Angeles. How he spends his major portion of money on pot is a different thing but the guy has a good heart.

The film takes a decently original spin on this often gone trip till it begins to manipulate accidents, jealousy and more accidents to make them take crazy exits to known places. Then comes the legendary drugged experience to make them be standing on the same plane for once in the entire trip. While there are considerably good portion of laughs, it almost seems like watching an old over watched film in a big screen.

Regardless of the niceties both show sparsely on each other, the damages outweighs that and suddenly during a drug trip they unite for Pinkfloyd classic song. And it feels like Todd Phillips wanted to get the things wrapped up and go home. Then the traditional plot flow chart of when things are super smooth and emotional, there comes the ultimate betrayal and the final summing up to all horrible things (which includes a deadly road accident, stealing border patrol car and their trailer, accidental shooting) comes to happy ending.

“Due Date” does what it has set out to be done. It has two actors very good at their act and a story to set them together despite its artificial instances. At the end we get good laughs out of their predicaments, miseries and horrendous mistakes and yet we leave without the remembrance that these two characters are genuinely formed a good bond in the end. Sometimes a good buddy comedy film achieves the greatness by those simple charms wherein we believe in their friendship. We begin to hope to be friends with them however dangerous and destructive they are. In “Due Date” we never want to be friends with either Ethan or Peter not because they are bad people but they do not exist in flesh and blood even in the two dimensional world of cinema.

No comments: