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From The Hangover director Todd Phillips, Due Date throws two unlikely companions together on a road trip that turns out to be as life-changing as it is outrageous. Expectant first-time father Peter Highman Robert Downey Jr. looks forward to his new child’s due date five days away. As Peter hurries to catch a flight home from Atlanta to be at his wife’s side for the birth, his best intentions go completely awry when an encounter with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay Zach Galifianakis forces Peter to hitch a ride with Ethan on a cross-country trip that will ultimately destroy several cars, many friendships and Peter’s last nerve.
Due Date is such a broad comedy, it needs the width of the whole United States in which to play out. Director Todd Phillips The Hangover lets the gross-out comedic charms of his frequent star Zach Galifianakis run wild, which is exactly what Galifianakis fans want. And Robert Downey Jr. reminds viewers of his appealing straight-man comic talents, too. Due Date is like Planes, Trains and Automobiles meets Nine Months with a little of The Odd Couple thrown in. The writing of Due Date is uneven--perhaps a result of its having had a minimum of six screenwriters working on it. And run time, at only 100 or so minutes, seems much longer. But Due Date gets its energy and charge from its two stars and from Phillips's slaphappy direction. Galifianakis plays Ethan, who's a version of every character Galifianakis has played to date--slovenly, irresponsible, and uncensored. Downey is Peter, a straitlaced new father-to-be, who through an improbable series of unfortunate events can find no other way to get across the country for the birth of his first child than to hitch a ride with Ethan. If the situation is somewhat predictable, the comedic moments are not--though by halfway though the trip, viewers may wonder if Peter will be able to resist strangling Ethan with his own scarf, or worse. The deft supporting cast includes Michelle Monaghan as Peter's wife, Jamie Foxx in kind of a throwaway role, and Juliette Lewis, appealing and not too ditzy. Viewers who love Phillips's and Galifianakis's trademark slapstick shtick will find plenty to laugh about on this long, strange trip. --A.T. Hurley