|November 5, 2010|
|Alan R. Cohen|
|Warner Bros. Pictures|
Rated R for language, drug use and sexual content
Walking into Due Date, the stage had been set for me to experience a sub-par comedy. No high expectations were allotted for the film with few critics gleaming it an absolute knock-out like The Hangover. However, my actual recollection of the film brings up my argument about hype, and what it does for films and their audiences. Due Date was absolutely hilarious and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Hype, whether positive or negative, can absolutely crush (or redeem) a film and the way an audience perceives it. Case in point: The Hangover. When going to the theater opening night for The Hangover, not a single person knew what they were getting themselves into. The Hangover was one of the funniest films I have experienced in theaters. As the weeks went on, all I could hear were droves of people expressing how The Hangover was the funniest film ever. The hype was set. Now audiences were walking into The Hangover, expecting to see the “funniest film ever” and being disappointed when it was not that.
Due Date works in the opposite way. Though still attending its opening night, critics had deemed it too outrageous and since it was no The Hangover, it garnered a negative spotlight. These critics affected me in the fact that walking into the Marcus Theaters for Due Date at 9:30pm, I was not anticipating a completely enjoyable endeavor from the men that brought you The Hangover. What I actually got was an enriching surprise: the critics had lulled me so far down into how disappointing the film would be that when Due Date actually made me laugh hysterically or feel for the main characters, I walked away wondering what those critics were talking about, yet thanking them for not setting me up to have the best time of my life at a movie theater.
First of all, a lot of people do not get the subtle humor of Zach Galifianakis. His off-the-wall humor meshed with Robert Downey Jr.’s cynical, anger management needed @$$hole brings an entirely new spin on the Odd Couple. Zach Galifianakis has a way with making himself look absolutely ridiculous in such a good way. Each film that Galifianakis is in, you get the feeling he is performing the same character from one of his previous roles, with certain tweaks and arrangements to make him fresh and funny. You know from the start, as Galifianakis feeds his dog, Sonny, and laughs at him with such true intent, spouting off that his dog thinks he is human for eating eggs and how stupid that is, you feel the reminiscent scenes of Galifianakis with the baby, “Carlos”, in The Hangover and even that right there brings Due Date to another level.
For the most part, Due Date is believable. Car accidents and men hating one another happens everyday. Do not mistake Robert Downey Jr.’s excessive hatred throughout the film as over-exaggerating or amplifying a character flaw. I have personally met people with such anger issues and these people exist, possibly even in a past version of Downey Jr. himself. The only parts that end up unneeded were the guessing game involving the father of Michelle Monaghan’s future child, in which the audience is left to wonder whether Jamie Foxx, Downey Jr.’s best friend in the film, has taken advantage of their friendship and secretly slept with his wife; and the scenes south of the border, where a high end, police chase is written off so that the story can continue comfortably, without becoming too dramatic or strung out.
Due Date was worth the price of admission by far, and perhaps I am sending the positive hype demons into the air and this positive review might end up falsely leading readers into a not as enjoyable film as was described, but in the end, all reviews do this to some extent. Sure, critics can compare Due Date to Steve Martin and John Candy’s Trains, Plains, and Automobiles, but Due Date brings an entirely new feel and era to the piece. Downey Jr. and Galifianakis are a pairing you would never imagine just throwing together, but when you do, you wonder why this never happened sooner. Bear with the violence towards bratty children, the openly talked about (and performed) masturbation, the physical violence from a handicapped war veteran (Danny McBride) and the act of spitting on an adorable dog, and you are bound to find some sort of enjoyment in the film. At least more than described by most previous critics.