Tuesday 11 October 2011

Burl reviews Due Date! (2010)

Hi, Burl here with a review of a recent mainstream comedy! This one is called Due Date, and it’s another entry in the “mismatched couple of guys” subgenre! Ha ha, think 48 Hours, but if the guys weren’t cops! And if one of them was an uptight professional and the other one an overweight slob! And if they had to cross the country together and for some reason couldn’t take a plane! I know you’re thinking I must be talking about Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but nope, it’s called Due Date! I checked the box twice to make sure!

I seem to recall that comparison being made a lot when the movie came out, and now I see that it was not without good reason! However, I’ll try to put that aside and review Due Date on its own merits! It seems there’s an architect, Peter, and a hefty stoner called Ethan Tremblay, and for some reason they get kicked off an airplane together, partially because Ethan talks about bombs and terrorists and the like, but mainly because Peter is kind of a hot-tempered jerk! I guess he's a bit on edge because his wife is about to have a baby, but I've been in that position too and I didn't become a jerk! I just stayed pretty much the same old Burl!

Anyway, it’s a bit contrived and somewhat unlikely, but ha ha, whatever! Got to get the movie going somehow, right? Next thing you know, this mismatched pair of oddballs, plus Ethan’s self-pleasuring dog, have hit the road in a rental car and have all sorts of kooky adventures on the way from Atlanta, a city I’ve never visited, to Los Angeles, a city I have!

I won’t detail their entire picaresque, but rest assured that some weed is smoked, some cars are wrecked, and there are fights and hugs galore! The movie at times seems a bit of an homage – and we all know Jean-Luc Godard’s definition of homage, ha ha! – to the great road trip comedies of the past! We get moments lifted from the Chevy Chase movie Vacation; from Planes, Trains and Automobiles of course, and even from the Hope/Crosby Road pictures! Lesser films get their “due” as well – Tommy Boy, Smokey and the Bandit and this same director’s own Road Trip! Ha ha, it’s a cavalcade of tributes!

The actors are pretty good, I suppose, and there are some chuckles and chortles to be had throughout! It’s never what I would call “uproarious,” though, and while uproariousness is not as high as you might think on ol’ Burl’s list of comedy film virtues, that’s clearly what this one was aiming for! And some of the laffs, I think, depend on a familiarity with the TV show Two and a Half Men, which I’ve never seen and probably never will see! (I’m still trying to catch up on all the episodes of Riptide I missed the first time around!)

But I do like a road trip comedy, and since this one has some technical proficiency and some funny clowning around from top comedy performers, I’ll award it one and a half men!

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