Due Date - 8th November 2010

Due Date, or The Hangover meets Planes,Trains and Automobiles is the second funniest move that the director, Todd Phillips, has made. He can be and has been a bit hit and miss but generally I find his sensibility funny. The first is Old School and only because you have more funny characters doing funny things, with Due Date almost the entire film is just these two actors, Zach Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr. and so it really helps if you, like me, like these two guys as much as possible. 
I was going to say that with Downey Jr's recent reform and rise to superstardom we have sadly lost some of Downey Jr the actor because, unfortunately, with his exposure we have all got used to his rapid fire Downeyisms and wrongly assume he just plays Donwey Jr every time but that is simply not the case. It is true to say that he is not exactly stretching with his recent roles, all of them are clever smart arses with a soft side and a dollop of eccentricity but if you were to watch Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes and Due Date side by side you'd see three very different people on the screen. He really has that rare talent of subtlety where you know they are all Robert Downey Jr but when you think again and look back then whole worlds have been created within subtle character quirks, different in each performance. He is the solid semi-straightman in this film and the butt of Galifianakis' whirl wind of mishap and mayhem but has a temper to the point where you never really side with him. If it was a Larry David type then you'd side with him, you'd think, oh poor man what a terrible day he's having but Downey Jr's character doesn't start to get our sympathies till the second half of the movie where, after a mind bogglingly ludicrous series of events, it makes you stop and wonder how this character is even alive. Thinking about it, his role in the film bares a little similarity with the old John Cleese comedy Clockwise in which a tightly wound, prompt school headmaster trying to get somewhere quickly befalls indignity upon indignity, which I can see the comedy in for a while but soon you just want something to go right for the poor bastard. Luckily because the one liners in Due Date, from Zach Galifiankis' character, are so very clever, quick and funny and generally you are really enjoying his performance that the feeling that enough is enough didn't really start to creep in until the last third.
If your only exposure to Mr.Galifianakis is The Hangover then please YouTube him now or go on Funny or Die and swot up because he is really really funny and not just the next Jack Black/Chris Farley/John Candy knock off, despite the obvious comparisons. Obviously, in this role, he channels a little of John Candy in the fact that despite being a colossal annoyance he appears so happy, naive and wide-eyed that you're initially glad that he's along with the ride, in later scenes there's also something of the creepy, Jim Carrey Cable Guy about him but it's all played for laughs. John Candy's genius though, in Planes Trains and Automobiles and other films, was to play those sorts of well meaning but ultimately painfully irritating characters without ever having to resort to any real gross out humour or anything genuinely dangerous. In Due Date, however, as it's 2010, we have to have stoner jokes, masturbation jokes, death defying car crashes and vomiting, they also manage, through various, continuous misadventures to raise the level of farce in this film to catastrophically unbelievable heights.
It depends on your taste, if more is funnier then you'll love all this stuff but for me it went a little too far and if it had been anyone else in the roles I wouldn't have stuck with it. The two actors are just so good, though and the script, when it's just two guys talking, is terrific that you forgive it the ridiculous, larger than life excesses. It's also true to say though that it is its gross out, over-the-top, heightened reality nature that stops it from becoming a Planes Trains carbon copy. 
To give Zach's character some depth to him they give him a dead Dad that he has a hard time letting go of and the purpose of the trip is to get to LA for the birth of a child so underneath all the crash, bang, wallop and puke there is a real story to be told, an unlikely friendship is made and there is some heart tucked in there without ever being really too schmaltzy.
All in all I did enjoy it, it felt a little long but the scenery is great, the back and forth between the two leads is terrific and funny throughout and although it did detract from the more subtle things that were going on, car chases featuring Zach Galifianakis are generally very amusing.
7 out of 10 tea and doughnuts
Points from The Wife 8 out of 10 coffees and doughnuts

Dr.No - 14th November 2010

RED - 7th November 2010