Having collaborated to winning effect on The Hangover, director Todd Phillips and comedian Zach Galifianakis endure a bumpy reunion on road movie comedy Due Date.
Designed as a sort of anti-buddy movie, Phillips’ latest follows uptight, expectant father Peter (played by Robert Downey Jr) as he is forced to travel cross country in time for the birth of his child with the same annoying fellow traveller (Galifianakis’ Ethan Tremblay) responsible for getting him banned from flying.
Hence, a lot of the comedy stems from seeing just how far Galifianakis’ aspiring actor can go in pushing Downey Jr’s buttons and generally ruining his life.
The main problem with Due Date is that Galifianakis’ character is just too annoying and eccentric to be likeable, while the humour is mean-spirited and frequently bordering on the distasteful. Phillips is never one to shy away from pushing the envelope as far as what’s permissible is concerned, but gags involving spitting in a dog’s face and punching a child fly a little too close to the mark. An extended masturbation sequence is simply unnecessary.
Extended cameos from the likes of Danny McBride, Juliette Lewis, Jamie Foxx and Phillips himself do little to boost proceedings either and often feel like padding.
On the plus side, Downey Jr remains as watchable as ever, combining simmering resentment with comic hostility well, but given the two-handed nature of proceedings he’s left with too much to carry.
General release from Fri 5 Nov.