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11/1/10

DUE DATE - REVIEW


Had I been informed years ago, pre-The Hangover, that a (sort of) remake of John Hughes' classic Trains, Planes and Automobiles was in the pipeline, I would have no doubt called for Todd Phillips' head on a stick whilst sharpening my trusty pitchfork. However, after Robert Downey Jr's glorious comeback and Zach Galifianakis' impressive bearded breakthrough the prospect of seeing these two travel across America together feels like a real treat to say the least. And that's just what Due Date is: a treat.

Sure it's derivative and reminiscent of countless other road movies (Tommy Boy, Dumb & Dumber) but it can stand proudly next to the best of them as a hugely entertaining, very funny little gem that's frankly hard to resist. Steve Martin may have been uptight back in the day but here, Downey Jr is one angry, cynical guy and is never shy of punching kids in the stomach or spitting in dogs' faces. As for Zach, our John Candy, his retarded buffoonery is adequately peppered with pathos: he's a moron but the kind of moron you can appreciate, as long as you're not travelling with him. The interplay between the unlikely duo is a real delight. Throw in Danny McBride as a paraplegic Western Union psycho, Juliette Lewis as a pot dealer and you've got yourself a cult hit.

Highlights include Downey Jr's unplanned "trip" complete with bear hallucinations and Galifianakis' Ethan Tremblay's attempts at acting. After a year of disappointing comedies, with Scott Pilgrim vs The World and Hot Tub Time Machine being very pleasant exceptions, Due Date is indeed a breath of fresh air and proves that Judd Apatow finally has some competition for the best comedy director crown in Todd Phillips, whose next film will probably have masturbating cats.

Overall; I highly recommend Due Date, more so even than the much lauded The Hangover, as it's a genuinely intermittently fun ride which mixes Downey Jr's perfect comic timing and unparalleled cool with Galifianakis' cartoonish antics and loveable randomness brilliantly. Funny stuff.

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