Had the opportunity and pleasure to attend an industry screening for “Due Date” last night.
You don’t have to push me very hard to take in any film when it’s showing at the Arclight in Hollywood–I believe it to be the premier cinema experience in all of the United States, and I feel that the screens and sound put IMAX to shame. What can I say, I’m just not into seeing narrative features on the overwhelming 4:3 aspect ratio screen with the neck craning, studio seated rake. I digress.
Due Date, the latest offering from the Warner Brothers, puts two dudes on the screen that are so easy to watch, they could have improvised the entire story, and it would have been compelling. Even in a film that goes to a lot of places, and somehow doesn’t really go anywhere, Zach Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr. are so intriguing that you can’t help but admire them at the top of their games.
Was it funny? How could it not be? Was it a film full of gadget devices to manipulate the funny bone? Todd Phillips directed it. (As a matter of fact, Todd Phillips offered my favorite supporting role in this jam) Is it worth seeing? Of course. Is it more for the matinee budget, or for the $11 evening feature? Sure. A nice palate cleanser after seeing Paranormal Activity 2? Most definitely.
Robert Downey Jr. stars as Peter Highman, which I giggled about for the first five minutes. They pronounce it hymen–perhaps it could have been slightly more obtuse? Highman is forced to road-trip it cross-country with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis) after a chain of unfortunate events lands them on the ground with no legal privilege to fly. Putting these two opposites in a car for a 3,000 mile journey, adding the ashes of the dead, a white bulldog named Sunshine and a fly by via Jamie Foxx, you’ve got comedic bronze at the least. Some will say silver; others may suggest gold.
The story was uninteresting, selling our contemporary world as the world of the film, complete with references to “Two-and-a-Half Men,” then making a foray into such unbelievable absurdity that I couldn’t help but furrow my brow–yet as you might expect, that was when Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis would take over, and reel you back in with sincerity to pinch you in the heart.
In terms of the craftsmanship of filmmaking, it’s tough to go wrong with a road trip that possesses a lot of aerial shots.
(Images via: Warner Entertainment)