New on DVD/Blu-ray: Due Date (2010)

Director Todd Phillips can do no wrong. Coming off the surprise sleeper hit of 2010, Phillips couldn’t have picked a safer bet than “Due Date”. Not only is the premise brimming with potential comedy gold, but he’s backed up by two white-hot actors in Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. Yes, Zach Galifianakis. I bet you didn’t even know the name, much less spell it, before “The Hangover” last year, huh? Phillips’ road comedy “Due Date” will be available tomorrow on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, On Demand and for Download from Warner Home Video.

From The Hangover director Todd Phillips, Due Date throws two unlikely companions together on a road trip that turns out to be as life-changing as it is outrageous. Expectant first-time father Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) looks forward to his new child’s due date five days away. As Peter hurries to catch a flight home from Atlanta to be at his wife’s side for the birth, his best intentions go completely awry when an encounter with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) forces Peter to hitch a ride with Ethan on a cross-country trip that will ultimately destroy several cars, many friendships and Peter’s last nerve.

Movie Review:

Who knew that in a film where Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis would have equal billing and star status, it’s Downey who would keep things funny? This, despite the fact that Galifianakis has been a professional stand-up comedian (of sorts; he spends a lot of his routines in a chair, too) for years before his break-out role in director Todd Phillips’ “The Hangover”. Then again, it could just be that, like Downey’s Peter Highsmith character, I really, really wanted to punch Galifianakis’ Ethan in the face for much of the movie, possibly following that up with a little strangulation before dumping his body (along with his dog) in a shallow grave. What, too much?

Downey plays Peter Highsmith, a somewhat high-strung father-to-be on his way home from business to make sure he arrives in time to see the birth of his first child with wife Michelle Monaghan. At the airport, Peter literally runs into Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis). Or is that, Ethan runs into Peter? Either/or. The polar opposites (Peter’s a successful professional; Ethan is a wannabe actor who insists he’s 23-years old) immediately butt heads, but ends up on the same plane, before being unceremoniously kicked off moments later (with Peter landing on the no-fly list). Since this wouldn’t be much of a movie if Peter did the really smart thing and stayed as far away from Ethan as possible, the bickering duo end up on the road together, along with Ethan’s dog. Hi-jinks (much of it resulting in Peter braving various bodily injuries) ensue.

“Due Date” features some excellent cameos, including Wu Tang Clan founding member Rza as a bitchy TSA screener, Jamie Foxx (probably doing someone a big favor) as an old buddy of Peter’s who comes to the rescue briefly during the middle sections of the film, and best of all, Danny McBride as a wheelchair-bound ex-vet who puts the hurt to both Peter and Ethan. But mostly to Peter, who ends up spitting out a mouthful of blood for his troubles.

It’s not “The Hangover”, but “Due Date” has enough going for it that you’re liable to catch yourself chuckling a time or two. I have to admit, though, I didn’t laugh nearly as much as I had expected, and much of the real good laughs were already given away in the trailers. Galifianakis, as funny as I know him to be, is pretty damn annoying throughout the movie. There is stupid, and then there is Galifianakis’ Ethan Tremblay. Most people probably think Peter is being a tad mean-spirited in his reactions to the clueless moron that is Ethan, but I’d like to give the poor guy a medal. Fans of Galifianakis will definitely be howling at the sight of their hero sash-shaying his way through the film, as Galifianakis is at his kooky and odd best.

Special features include deleted scenes, a gag reel, two “mash-ups”, and “Ethan Tremblay’s” appearance on the CBS comedy “Two and a Half Men”.

Buy “Due Date” on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, On Demand and for Download February 22, 2011.