Peter Highman (Robert Downey, Jr.) is a rage-aholic. His temper usually gets the best of him. He spouts off rants about people's actions like he's the foremost expert on everything. Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) is a numbskull with aspirations to travel to Hollywood and work as an actor on 'Two and a Half Men.' Ethan is one of those movie morons who's completely oblivious to social mores or the fact that people are trying to live in a civilized society. He's socially inept and makes that known by regurgitating comments that are never appropriate in a social setting.
The two of them meet by happenstance at the airport. Peter is heading home for the birth of his baby in a few days, and Ethan is going there to chase his dream of starring alongside Charlie Sheen. The previews have already made it very clear that these two form an unlikely duo as Peter's confrontation with Ethan on a crowded plane, which involved the words "bomb" and "terrorist," resulted in him being put on a No Fly List. To make matters worse his wallet and suitcase are still on the plane and he has no way to rent a car and get home. Ethan, however, has a credit card and ID. Let the road trip begin.
Buddy road trip movies aren't new. This time the odd couple is traveling across the country in a tiny compact car. Ethan doesn't know when to shut up and Peter doesn't know how to control his temper.
Peter's rants get a little tiresome, but I feel like they're supposed to. He's somewhat of a douche and he knows it, but it doesn't stop him from acting that way. He has to comment on everything he finds wrong with people and society. Ethan tests Peter's limits by getting them into one perilous shenanigan after another and acting like it's no big deal.
As the road trip continues, the situations these two find themselves in become increasingly bizarre and unbelievable. Although, anyone complaining about the unbelievable things that happen in 'Due Date' just needs to take a gander at a group of guys stealing a tiger from Mike Tyson to realize that maybe 'Due Date' is right in line with believability when it comes to Phillips fare.
The two of them go through the routine of standard disagreements, fights, and eventual make-ups. The aspect that makes this movie watchable is that Phillips is able to inject humor at every turn giving the movie a very funny undertone. Yes, Peter is mean, but it's almost impossible not to laugh when he slugs a defenseless kid, because how many times have we wanted to do that very same thing to some annoying youngster?
As usual, Robert Downey, Jr. is perfect for this role. This is one of those roles that would be easy for an actor of his caliber to just mail-in. Still, he sinks his teeth into this role as one of the most unlikable guys he's ever played and he excels at it. He's still one of the best actors in Hollywood, well that is until Ethan Tremblay takes the town by storm.
'Due Date' sports a 1080p AVC-encoded transfer that truly shines. Foregoing the pumped up, bright color palette that usually accompanies comedies of this nature, 'Due Date' has more of a gritty, earthy feel. Especially when they head on over the Grand Canyon. Its earthy tones are well saturated, along with skin tones. Contrast adds a nice depth to the overall picture. Blacks can be crushing at times, but more often than not they provide well-balanced darkened detail.
Fine detail is wonderfully present at every turn, and it's easy to see just how haggard Robert Downey, Jr.'s face is becoming. You can see every fine hair in Ethan's finely manicured perm too. Textures like clothing, curtains, and rugs take on a life of their own as finely woven fabrics never feature a hint of aliasing. Banding, blocking and other nuisances are kept at bay. This transfer is clear from any white flecks or specks that have been known to crop up. Altogether this is a fine looking transfer from Warner Bros.
Following suit, 'Due Date's 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is lifelike, energetic, and engaging. Dialogue is never lost in the zany antics of road-tripping. Directionality is perfectly assembled as voices are placed according to where the actors are. Yelling from off screen is placed off to the side while conversations between the two of them in the car are rendered well. LFE blares through the sub with a few hip-hop and rock songs that are peppered throughout the soundtrack. Ambient sound, from the rear channels, is somewhat soft but becomes engaging during the more action-packed scenes, like the escape from Mexico.
Though I never got the hoopla surrounding 'The Hangover,' I actually enjoyed 'Due Date.' Of course, I do enjoy watching Robert Downey, Jr. act like a giant prick. He's good at that. It is a pretty typical road trip movie, but Phillips has a way of making us connect to these two characters even though they're involved in some pretty outlandish situations. The video and audio are very strong, but the special features need a lot of work. Still, this one is recommended.