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High-strung father-to-be Peter Highman is forced to hitch a ride with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay on a road trip in order to make it to his child's birth on time.
For more about Due Date and the Due Date Blu-ray release, see Due Date Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on February 13, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis, Danny McBride
Director: Todd Phillips
» See full cast & crew
Due Date Blu-ray Review
Am I the only guy who really enjoyed Phillips's latest comedy?
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, February 13, 2011
Rumors of Due Date's similarity (and inferiority) to The Hangover have been greatly exaggerated. Both were helmed by Old School director Todd Phillips and both feature funnyman Zach Galifianakis, that much is certain. But as far as I'm concerned, the two couldn't be more different. The Hangover pummels its audience into senseless submission with a flurry of increasingly outlandish haymakers; Due Date dances, darts, jabs, and only takes a few big swings. The Hangover lurches ahead with a brash blend of raunchy humor and wild gags; Due Date makes more purposeful strides, fusing belly laughs with unexpectedly moving dramatic beats. The Hangover pushes harder and harder to leave comedy junkies in bleary eyed hysterics, sometimes to its detriment; Due Date strives to evoke more lasting emotions, be it amusement, shock, empathy, elation or sadness. No, Due Date isn't for everyone. The more affection you have for The Hangover, the less likely you are to enjoy Phillips's more subdued followup. It will even disappoint many a genre fan (as a number of negative reviews of the film will attest). Me? I loved it. I know I'm in the minority, but I thought it was better than The Hangover. That's right... I said it. Better than The Hangover.
Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man 2) is headed home to be with his wife Sarah (Michelle Monaghan, Eagle Eye) for the birth of their first child. But when a chance encounter with a bumbling Hollywood hopeful named Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis, It's Kind of a Funny Story) lands both men on the TSA No-Fly List, Peter is left with little choice but to hitch a cross-country ride with his newfound frenemy. The two don't exactly gel, a fact that completely escapes Ethan and infuriates Peter to no end. As they make their way from Atlanta to Los Angeles, the pair quickly run out of cash (thanks to Ethan's medical marijuana prescription), have a violent run-in with a temperamental Western Union employee (Danny McBride, Pineapple Express), total their car, take a trip to a Dallas ER and are eventually detained at the Mexican border for drug possession after making quite a few wrong turns. However, the death of Ethan's father and Peter's personal struggles disrupt the dynamics of the men's already dysfunctional bromance, pitting them against one another as often as it brings them together.
Sound strangely sappy? It isn't. Phillips drifts from comedy to drama with disarming ease and establishes a nice flow between what could have been diametrically opposing interactions. One minute Peter is mocking Ethan's dreams of a career in Hollywood, the next minute he finds himself withdrawing as Ethan begins having a legitimate emotional breakdown. And Downey and Galifianakis make these subtle but startling transitions surprisingly powerful. Downey's anger bleeds away, replaced by a conflicting double-dose of pity and sympathy. Galifianakis's manchild antics suddenly fade, displaced by a surge of pain and heartache that's both convincing and revealing. It's in moments like these that Due Date proves to be far more meaningful and memorable than just another buddy comedy, just another R-rated fiasco, just another silly string of road trip misadventures. More importantly, the film's at-times jarring jolts of seriousness don't hinder the gut-busting humor in the slightest. Likewise, the sense of relief that comes with a belly laugh doesn't undermine the dramatic pause that proceeds it. It's this balance, this perilous tightrope that Phillips and his actors traverse with wit, charm, poise and prowess. And the film is all the better for it.
The comedy beats Phillips deploys are also sharper and smarter than many less-than-enthusiastic critics have suggested. Due Date is a welcome, long-overdue apology for Road Trip (Phillips's mediocre feature film debut), a more introspective, character-driven piece than The Hangover and, in my humble opinion, one of the funniest comedies of 2010. Galifianakis relies on his usual schtick much of the time, sure, but Ethan wriggles out from the comedian's beard with a personality all his own. (It's worth noting that the ever-evolving thesp lends real heft and heart to the film's dramatic scenes as well.) On the opposite end of the spectrum, Downey is all snark and sizzle, bite and bark. However, his rapidfire arrogance and barbed insults make every laugh bigger (and every plucked heartstring more believable). Just how funny is Due Date? There are three scenes -- one involving an obnoxious little boy, one involving a nap at the wheel, one involving Peter's spit -- that sent me into absolute fits. Other sequences don't quite stack up (the ending feels particularly rushed and anticlimactic, as if it were missing one last crucial joke), but kept me grinning nonetheless. Although I should note I'm not someone who needs to be laughing out loud every five seconds to declare a comedy a success.
There's a reason every comedy review I write ends as this one is about to. No matter how funny a film is, there will always be those who shake their heads and wonder what all the fuss is about. And no matter how many people shake their head, there will always be someone wiping tears from their eyes, desperately trying to maintain their composure. Comedy is a wily beast; one that divides audiences as readily as it entertains them. Due Date isn't going to appeal to everyone, especially those who deem The Hangover the be-all, end-all of 21st Century comedy. Give it a rent and see if it cozies up to your tastes or leaves you wanting more.
Due Date Blu-ray, Video Quality
Due Date won't have any trouble making friends on Blu-ray. Backed by a near-perfect 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer, Phillips's buddy comedy looks every bit as good as a 2010 theatrical release should, and then some. The first thing you're sure to notice? Detail is outstanding. Fine textures are exceedingly well-resolved, edges are crisp and remarkably refined (with only a hint of minor ringing to be seen) and delineation is excellent. But it's not just clarity that excels. Contrast and color follow suit, lending the image a cool, confident disposition that's easy on the eyes. Primaries have bite, skintones are impeccably saturated and black levels, though susceptible to negligible crush on rare occasion, are deep and discerning. Better still, Warner's encode is free of significant artifacting, banding, aliasing and other distractions. Shot after shot, scene after scene, Due Date's high definition presentation proves its worth.
Due Date Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Warner's energetic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track adds serious value to Due Date's Blu-ray release, just not quite as much as the studio's video transfer. Dialogue is clean, crystal clear, perfectly intelligible and naturally grounded in the mix regardless of the chaos that ensues. LFE output is decisive and defiant, granting every car wreck and violent blow notable weight and presence, and dynamics impress throughout. Christophe Beck's original music and Phillips's bass-heavy soundtrack selections are given the LFE channel's full support as well, and every hip-hop anthem and rock screamfest fills the soundfield. Rear speaker activity isn't nearly as assertive, but it isn't unfulfilling in any way. To the contrary, ambient effects are convincing and engaging, directionality is precise, acoustics are commendable (particularly in the cramped vehicles Peter and Ethan commandeer) and transparent pans whip from channel to channel with ease. In short, Warner's lossless track sounds great. There simply isn't much to criticize.
Due Date Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Due Date doesn't roll out many special features and those it does include disappoint. Fans of the film will be thoroughly underwhelmed.
Due Date Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Due Date has it all: great cast, funny script, surprising tone and plenty of laughs. Unfortunate comparisons to The Hangover are inevitable, but Phillips's buddy comedy stands strong on its own. At the very least, it's worth renting. It only helps that Warner's Blu-ray release makes it all go down smoothly. Its video transfer is as close to perfect as near-perfect comes, its DTS-HD Master Audio surround track is excellent and a slim supplemental package is its only weakness. It may not be for everyone, but Due Date still deserves a chance.
Due Date: Other Editions
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Due Date Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray - February 22-28 - February 21, 2011
Yes, Due Date is directed by Todd Philips, the same guy who directed the laughfest that is The Hangover. And yes, it stars Zach Galifianakis, who also starred in The Hangover - but that is where the similarities end. Much as Apatow's Funny People turned off as ...
• Due Date Blu-ray Announced - January 10, 2011
Warner Home Video has announced Due Date for Blu-ray release on February 22, 2011, in a BD/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack. This comedy road movie directed by Todd Phillips, stars Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. It made just under $100 million at the box office ...
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