Let’s Talk About Movies: Due Date

When the funniest part of your movie is a clip from “Two and a Half Men,” you might be in trouble. “Due Date” tries to do for “Planes, Trains & Automobiles,” what “Hot Tub Time Machine” did for “Back to the Future,” but the result is undoubtedly causing John Candy to spin in his grave.The story follows Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.), who after a misunderstanding aboard a plane heading to Los Angeles lands him on a no-fly list, travels across country with an unlikely compatriot in Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis). Highman hopes to make it home in time for the birth of his first child while the two learn about themselves along the way.

The story is mildly inspired as Highman and Tremblay make their way across the nation with several moments that are almost tender and heart-warming. When Highman nearly leaves Tremblay behind at a rest stop, you start to feel bad for him, and you get a glimpse of what this movie could have been.

It’s unfortunate that these rare moments of visual pleasure are sandwiched between jokes about dog masturbation, which brings me to the humor of the movie.

With very rare exception, the humor in the movie fails time and time again. Instead of going for many sophisticated or thoughtful jokes, director Todd Phillips decides to go for the lowest common denominator of humor. Was “Freddy Got Fingered” too highbrow for you? You’ll love “Due Date.”

I get it. This is Phillips’ forté and sense of humor-he’s raunchy. Good for him. But just because he succeeds in spades at being raunchy doesn’t mean it’s funny. At several points, I wanted to leave the theater, but because either I am a self-masochist or I have a warped sense of duty to stay until the end, I sat through all 100 boring minutes.

By staying until the end of the movie, however, I did witness one thoughtful joke. When Highman makes it to the hospital where his wife is in labor, he ran into the wrong delivery room and the joke built on earlier parts of the movie. But, this joke came far too late in the movie to change anything.

As I sat there bored throughout the movie, one question kept reoccurring to me. Hasn’t Michael Cera taught us anything about character design? Galifianakis takes on the role of Tremblay just as he played Alan Garner in “The Hangover” and Therman in “Dinner for Schmucks.” Originality is entirely overrated.

Not to be outdone in the battle of “who can play the same character in everything until it stopped being funny three movies ago,” Danny McBride makes a cameo. Guess what he plays? If you guessed anything other than an even trashier version of Kenny Powers, you’re wrong and a hopeless optimist.

Downey supplies some relief in the desert of boredom, but even he is way off his game in “Due Date.” Jamie Foxx is pretty funny; unfortunately, he’s in the movie for all of five minutes.

You should steer clear of this disaster. “Due Date” has some heartfelt moments you can dig, but unfortunately, it’s as funny as a holocaust museum.

Make sure to check back next week as we wrap up the final issue of The Oracle with “Skyline.”

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