I do love Robert Downey Jr., and I’d probably pay to watch him read a phone book, but Due Date is Zach Galifianakis’ movie. This road-trip comedy about a couple of polar opposites driving from Atlanta to Los Angeles rests on the bizarreness of Galifianakis’ character, aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay. He’s the most socially awkward, annoying, and yet entirely innocent guy on the screen in a long while.
I am not a fan of dumb comedy and Due Date definitely has some extremely stupid moments, but it teeters on that edge balancing it with warmth and buddy shtick, and I can’t really imagine anyone other than Galifianakis’ playing it so honestly. Downey’s straight-man portrayal of Peter Highman, a husband desperate to get back to the west coast for the birth of his first child, is pretty rough at times and I thought by the end, I’d grow to hate him, but the script in its very broad strokes brings him around and these two
The comedy plays out mostly in Ethan’s obliviousness to the world which results in Peter’s humiliation, placement on the no-fly list, a drug arrest, some broken bones and a gun shot wound, a spectacular car crash, a police chase and various other interruptions to his quest to get home. Nothing deep here or particularly new in the world of comedy, but these two actors play off one another so well, you enjoy the ride, bumps and all. And there are a lot of laughs.