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 Downey, Galifianakis co-star in raunchy road comedy


Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers
Zack Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr. star in "Due Date," currently playing in movie theaters.

By Kam Williams / Critic

(Nov. 11, 2010) — Although Peter Highman (Robert Downey, Jr.) has been away in Atlanta on business, he’s assured his nine-months pregnant wife, Sarah (Michelle Monaghan), that he’ll be back in L.A. on time to witness the imminent birth of their baby. Just before checking out of his hotel, he optimistically calls to let her know how much he loves her and that he’ll be home soon.

However, upon arriving at the airport, a comedy of errors unfolds which makes it hard for the eager daddy-to-be to keep his promise. First, his cab is sideswiped by a dilapidated station wagon driven by a drunken hillbilly. In the ensuing confusion, Peter accidentally swaps suitcases with the equally-inebriated passenger (Zack Galifianakis) in the other auto.

Then, as he attempts to pass through security, he is momentarily detained for questioning because of a marijuana pipe and drug paraphernalia discovered in the bag he’s carrying. And when he confronts the stranger on the plane about the contraband, they both end up arrested by a federal air marshal before takeoff for creating a disturbance.

After their names are added to the “No-Fly” list, the two grudgingly agree to share a rent-a-car together. But can an uptight architect and a flamboyant slacker who already hate each other find the patience to drive clear across the country in the same automobile without driving each other crazy?

That is the proposition posed by "Due Date," an unlikely-buddy road flick which brazenly borrows its basic plot points from "Planes, Trains & Automobiles," the 1987 classic co-starring Steve Martin and John Candy. But where that hilarious John Hughes masterpiece served up a wholesome brand of humor apropos for the whole family fare, this raunchy rip-off relies on relatively-profane, unfunny shock fare appealing to the lowest common denominator.

In this regard, the film’s prurient tone is more reminiscent of its director Todd Philips’ previous offering, "The Hangover," which also featured Zack Galifianakis. Instead of engaging in pedophilia, this go-round Zack’s creepy character shares an intimate moment with a dog. Regrettably, despite their desperate efforts to entertain, he and Robert Downey, Jr. fail to generate anything in the way of chemistry or laughs over the course of their eventful misadventures en route to Los Angeles.

A relentlessly-offensive bottom-feeder of no redeeming social value which I learned in law school is the Supreme Court’s definition of obscene.

Poor (zero stars)

Rated R for profanity, sexuality and drug use.  

Running time: 95 Minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers

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