Review: Due Date Blu-ray

STUDIO: Warner | DIRECTOR: Todd Phillips | CAST: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis, Danny McBride
RELEASE DATE: 2/22/11 | PRICE: Blu-ray/DVD combo $35.99, Blu-ray $29.98, DVD $28.98
BONUSES: additional scenes, Two and a Half Men scene, action mash-up, gag reel, more
SPECS: R | 95 min. | Comedy | 1.77:1 widescreen | 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio/Dolby Digital 5.1 |  English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Due Date, the new comedy directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and starring Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man 2) and Zach Galifianakis (It’s Kind of a Funny Story), is a retread of John Hughes’ (The Breakfast Club) Planes, Trains and Automobiles with characters who are notably more mean-spirited and selfish finding themselves in on-the-road scenarios that aren’t quite as funny.

Due Date movie scene

Robert Downey Jr. (l.) and Zach Galifianakis sit this one out in Due Date.

Peter Highman (Downey), a compulsive father-to-be on the way home to Los Angeles to witness his wife’s (Michelle Monaghan, The Heartbreak Kid) induced pregnancy, and Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis), a shaggy-dog stoner/would-be actor heading out to Hollywood to become a star, meet at the Atlanta airport. A couple of movie-ish wrinkles later, the two find themselves ejected from the plane and sharing a rented car to head across the country to their destination.

Peter is disgusted by Ethan, of course, and subsequent situations involving a marijuana buy from Juliette Lewis (Conviction), a side-trip to Mexico and a bizarre encounter in a Western Union office with Danny McBride (TV’s Southbound and Down) don’t help matters. By the three-quarter mark, though, Peter sees the good in Ethan that he has apparently been missing.

One of the pleasures of Phillips-directed comedies (Old School, Road Trip) is their laid back approach and overall feel — even The Hangover, with its frantic story and energetic episodes, moves along with a measured, comfortable pace. But Due Date lowers the bar from laid back to something I’d describe as almost lazy. Phillips appears to have given his stars a lot of seemingly improvisational leeway in their performances, with at at least a half-dozen scenes feeling like they’re running on a lot longer than they probably did in the script. Sometimes it works, but often it doesn’t, and the hour-and-a-half comedy feels all the longer for it.

The sound and vision on the Blu-ray are fine, with the many panoramic views of the boys in their car zipping across the Southwest looking quite beautiful and inviting.

Only a handful of bonus features are included on the disc. The gag reel and mash-up montage of the film’s large-scale action sequences are cute, but not as fun as a scene from TV’s Two and a Half Men featuring Galifianakis’ character interacting with the show’s stars, Charlie Sheen (Wall Street) and Jon Cryer (Pretty in Pink). A piece of the scene appears in the movie itself, and is actually a lot funnier than many of the film’s other bits.

There’s no making-of featurette on the Blu-ray, but that’s ok, because it would inevitablly highlight the stars and director fawning all over each other and that’s also something we get enough of in the movie.

 

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.