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On The Box: Due Date gives the ride of your life

by Nikkita Dixon

Robert Downey Jr., fresh from Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes, and the loveable Zach Galifianakis, from the surprise hit The Hangover, have been teamed up in a hellish drive across America. Peter Highman (Downey Jr), an architect with a cutting attitude, needs to get across the state to make it in time for the birth of his child. Enter Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis) who unknowingly wreaks havoc in any situation he comes within a 100-metre radius of.  It’s not difficult to see that somehow the combination of these two characters results in them both being put on a ‘no-fly’ list, Highman losing his wallet and passport and Tremblay becoming his last option to reach his wife via a rental car. Thus the fun (if you can call it that) begins.

On this long trip we learn a lot about the two characters. Galifianakis is a socially awkward and dim-witted actor working his way to fame. His favourite television show is Two and Half Men, he is 23 years old (apparently) and he is carrying his father’s ashes in a coffee tin. He also brings a small dog along for the ride and some disturbing abandonment issues. Peter Highman is an agitated, bordering cruel, character who has very little tolerance for Ethan, but we kind of understand he’s going through a lot of turmoil in anticipation of becoming a father.

Along the way the two are thrown into some pretty outrageous scenes, generally as a result of Tremblay’s natural stupidity, all of which end fairly predictably. Of course the bank teller (Danny McBride) will turn out to be a cripple right after Highman has insulted him. Of course Highman’s friend (Jamie Foxx) would have no coffee in the house and they would end up accidentally drinking a cup of lightly brewed ash courtesy of Tremblay’s father. Of course it is going to be Highman that ends up getting in to all kinds of trouble while Tremblay skips through it unharmed.  It’s a path well-trodden.

Due Date is in among a small list of films I steer well clear of because they are deliberately painful to watch (The Meet The Parents films sit at the top of this list). But, the best part about this film is you end up quoting the many witty one-liners well after watching (“Why, I never in my 23 years…”).  You also find yourself forming an attachment to the two generally unlikeable characters when, eventually, we see the two bond despite their differences. The final dash to the hospital is quite possibly the funniest part of the film, but I’ll leave that for our viewers to decide.

I give this film two and a half ash-brewed coffees out of five.

Due date is available now On The Box on fetchtv.

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