Thursday, 23 February 2012

Due Date (2010)

Due Date is a 2010 American comedy road film directed by Todd Phillips, co-written by Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland, and Adam Sztykiel, and starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. The film was released on November 5, 2010. The film was shot in Las Cruces, New Mexico and Atlanta, Georgia.

The Plot

Peter Highman (Robert Downey, Jr.) is a high strung, type A architect on his way home from Atlanta to Los Angeles to be present at the birth of his first child, a scheduled C-section, with his wife, Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) In the opening scene he recalls a dream he had about being in a forest with his wife who is in labor. He's unable to reach her and help deliver the child, but a grizzly bear ends up helping and chewing through the umbilical cord. He sees this as a good sign. Once on the plane, Peter learns that Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis), who had just prior to boarding at the airport, been a passenger in a vehicle that knocked the door off the limo Peter had been in, is sitting behind him in first class. After inadvertently using the words "terrorist" and "bomb", Ethan gets Peter shot by a Federal Air Marshal (Steven M. Gagnon) with a rubber bullet. Both Peter and Ethan are forced off the plane before take-off.

After being questioned by security, Peter discovers that he has been placed on the No Fly List and will have to find another way to get to California. After realizing that he had left his wallet on the plane, Peter reluctantly agrees to travel with Ethan, an aspiring actor hoping to make it in Hollywood, to Los Angeles. Ethan is on his way to Hollywood with his dog Sonny after the funeral of his father, and is carrying his father's ashes in a coffee can for the duration of the trip.

After stopping in Birmingham, Alabama to purchase marijuana, Peter and Ethan realize that they only have $60 in cash between them. Peter decides to have his wife transfer him money. Since he doesn't have any legitimate I.D on him, Peter has his wife transfer the money in Ethan's assumed last name. Once at Western Union, Ethan realizes that the money has been sent to his stage name instead of his real name, Ethan Chase, the name printed on his I.D. The Western Union employee (Danny McBride) refuses to accept Ethan's head shot as proof of ID and declines the transfer. Frustrated and on edge, Peter verbally attacks the man who, despite being a wheel chair-bound veteran, ends up assaulting him and Ethan.

After spending the night at a rest stop, Peter decides on the spur of the moment to drive off and leave Ethan there while he washes up in the rest room, only to return several minutes later after wrestling with his conscience and coming close to throwing Ethan's father's ashes off an overpass. Ethan ends up driving while Peter gets some rest. After driving a while, Ethan falls asleep at the wheel and the car crashes. At a Dallas hospital, Peter, who has a broken arm and three cracked ribs, is picked up by his friend Darryl (Jamie Foxx). Again, Peter decides to part company with Ethan, but is persuaded to think twice by his friend. He reluctantly decides to allow Ethan to come along. Stopping at Darryl's house, Peter finds out during the course of the conversation that nine months prior, Darryl and Sarah had spent a weekend together. This leads Ethan to suspect Darryl of being the father of Sarah and Peter's unborn child. After a mere eight minutes in the company of Ethan, Darryl is throwing him out of his home.

Darryl lets them use his Range Rover and, while driving, Ethan smokes copious amounts of marijuana as Peter dozes. The smoke fills the interior of the vehicle, intoxicating Peter, causing him to hallucinate and sees Ethan as the bear from his dream. The two accidentally end up at the United States-Mexican border in El Paso when Ethan mistakes the 'Mexico' sign at the border crossing for a 'Texaco' gas station. Despite assurances to Peter that he'll handle the situation, Ethan flees from the border checkpoint and leaves Peter to be arrested for possession of marijuana. After being taken into custody by the Mexican Federal Police, Peter is broken out by Ethan who steals a border patrol truck in the process.

The duo stop at the Grand Canyon where Ethan finally finds it in him to say goodbye to his father and scatter his ashes. Peter confesses that he did try to leave Ethan back at the rest area and apologizes. Ethan then decides to make a confession of his own and reveals that he's been holding onto Peter's wallet the whole time. Peter attacks Ethan in a fit of rage. Sarah calls during the attack to inform Peter that her water has broken. Peter and Ethan immediately begin to speed to California. Along the way, Ethan accidentally shoots Peter with a gun he finds in the truck's glove compartment. Peter by this time, already injured and perhaps slightly insane from prolonged exposure to Ethan, refuses to stop for medical attention and instead insists that they continue on to the hospital in L.A.

Arriving at the hospital while Sarah is in labor, Peter passes out from loss of blood. Peter and Sarah's healthy Caucasian baby girl is seen later in the nursery confirming that it was not Darryl's baby. Ethan recounts to Peter that he had assisted in Rosie's birth by cutting the umbilical cord, thus alluding to Peter's dream at the beginning of the movie. The two go their separate ways with the promise that Peter will call Ethan to keep their friendship intact.

At the end of the film, Peter, Sarah, and Rosie watch an episode of Two and a Half Men, in which Ethan has landed a role.


Due Date received mixed to negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 39% "rotten", or a 5.2/10 rating, based on 177 reviews. The consensus is, "Shamelessly derivative and only sporadically funny, Due Date doesn't live up to the possibilities suggested by its talented director and marvelously mismatched stars." Metacritic gives the film a "mixed or average" score of 51%, based on reviews from 39 critics.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film two and a half stars out of a possible four, noting "The movie probably contains enough laughs to satisfy the weekend audience. Where it falls short is in the characters and relationships." Ebert compares Due Date to the 1987 film Planes, Trains and Automobiles but bemoans that Due Date could have learned and offered more.

The Cast

Robert Downey Jr. as Peter Highman
 Zach Galifianakis as Ethan Tremblay / Ethan Chase / Stu
 Michelle Monaghan as Sarah Highman
 Jamie Foxx as Darryl
 Juliette Lewis as Heidi
 Danny McBride as Lonnie
  Jakob Ulrich as Patrick
 Naiia Ulrich as Alex
 Todd Phillips as Barry
 Bobby Tisdale as Carl
  Mimi Kennedy as Sarah's Mom

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