Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Archive - Due Date Review - Vue Cinema

Review written for Doncaster Free Press (November, 2010)

(unedited text below)

Due Date, the new film from The Hangover director, Todd Phillips, has been labelled as this generation’s Planes, Trains andAutomobiles. This being the case, you’ve got to feel sympathy for the new generation at being saddled with this pale imitation of the earlier film, lacking its humour and with none of its heart.

The plot sees Robert Downey Jr’s passive-aggressive architect trying to get home from Atlanta to Los Angeles where his wife (Michelle Monaghan) is preparing to give birth to their first child. This attempt is hampered by an encounter with oddball Zach Galifianakis (previously also seen in The Hangover), resulting in them both being ejected from an aeroplane and placed on a no-fly list. Consequently the mismatched pair is thrown together for an obstacle-ridden car trip across the width of America.

A lack of believability permeates the film, both in the plot and also in how characters behave. This results in us not really investing ourselves in the film, not helped by the rather clumsy more serious moments that are presumably supposed to be emotional but are difficult to swallow.

Whilst scenes such as that where Downey Jr inappropriately punches a child or spits at a dog in a face are momentarily funny, they are also a sign of the film increasingly relying on shock and gross-out humour to cover its lack of imagination.

All this could be forgiven if the film was funny enough. However, two or three amusing moments are a poor return over 90 minutes. Brief highlights are a lively cameo from Juliette Lewis, and a perhaps unintentionally funny line where Downey Jr’s character states “I’ve never done drugs in my life” –anyone with a knowledge of his real-life wild side will appreciate the irony there.

There’s some picturesque views of the American landscape too, but it’s probably obvious here that I’m clutching at straws in trying to find aspects of the film to recommend. It’s almost not worth getting annoyed about the film because it’s not entirely dreadful, but there’s frustration at a film that’s just so lazy and instantly forgettable.

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