Monday, February 21, 2011

Blu-ray Review: Due Date (2010)

Due Date, starring Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Avengers) and Zach Galifianakis (Bored to Death, The Hangover Part II), doesn’t break any molds in comedic storytelling. In fact, the story centers on one of the most cliché character dynamics you’ll see in comedy: the straight man (Downey Jr. as Peter Highman) meets the crazy man (Galifianakis as Ethan Tremblay). The two connect and go on an epic adventure of escalating mishaps that the straight man wants nothing to do with. Been there. Done that. It’s the Odd Couple on a road trip adventure. However, Due Date throws cliché on its backside with the unbridled on-screen chemistry of Downey Jr. and Galifianakis. Unlike some comedies, Due Date is a film that can be watched several times either in a dedicated sitting or while doing household chores. Albeit a few throwaways, the Blu-ray release comes with a two special features that expand on Downey Jr. and Galifianakis antics, making for a moderately good release.

Peter Highman is the typical all-work-and-no-play husband who has dedicated his life to the job. He’s dull, high strung, prone to angry outbreaks and jealous. However, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love his family. His wife Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) is scheduled to have her baby in a week. So, Peter is in a rush to get back home from work in Atlanta and be at his wife’s side for the birth of their child. Unfortunately, on the way to the airport, Peter’s life changes when he runs into Ethan Tremblay, an aspiring actor who loves medicinal marijuana and other controlled substances. After an altercation on the plane, Peter and Ethan are booted off the plane and put on the “no fly list.” Unfortunately, Peter’s wallet was left in his confiscated luggage. Now, Peter must tag along Ethan, the one man who can help him get to LA in time for his child’s birth.
From the moment you meet Ethan, you can tell he’s a little off. Basically, the kind of character you’d expect from Galifianakis. He walks around with his father’s ashes in a coffee tin, masturbates to go to sleep and breaks the record for irritating actions. Ethan is the kid who never really grew up. Pit that character against Highman and you’ve got yourself Oscar Madison and Felix Ungar.
Downey Jr. and Galifianakis play the Odd Couple relationship flawlessly. What makes Peter and Ethan likable and not too cliché is their bond over father figures. We learn early on that Ethan recently lost his father, the one person he was close to. Instead of playing this relationship down or making light of it, this relationship grounds the film. It opens a door for a budding bromance between Peter and Ethan and makes you root for them to become friends instead of bitter enemies. Instead of just being a simple comedy, Due Date becomes a heartfelt, but utterly bananas rollercoaster ride. Appearances by the RZA and Jamie Foxx also add to the humor.

Throughout the film, Ethan discusses his fan site for Two and a Half Men. [Spoiler] The payoff is expanded on in the special features. It’s a delight to watch, and an excellent addition to the home release. The additional scenes and gag reel do a great job of showing viewers how Downey Jr. and Galifianakis developed their excellent chemistry. You can see them just having fun off camera, which immediately translated into several great scenes in the movie. There are also two mash-ups included in the special features, but they fly by in a matter of seconds. It’s as if production forgot to do any interviews with the actors and just threw these two sixty-second teasers (estimated time) on to fill up space.

Due Date comes complete with a digital copy so it is a great movie to watch at home or on the go.
Special Features:
- Due Date: Action Mash-Up
- Due Date: Too Many Questions
- Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel
- The Complete Two and a Half Men Scene Featuring Ethan Tremblay

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