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Hooray for Holleywood

"Due Date"

Video:  A road trip best avoided!
By: Holley Sinn

Verdict: Denied

Hollywood has gone "remake" crazy. From the "Nightmare on Elm Street" saga to "The A Team" and beyond, our favorite movies are finding new lives...some for the better, others....well, not as much. But, for the most part, the studios behind the remakes are calling them what they are - heck, it makes for smart marketing to dredge up a classic and re-pitch it to a nostalgic public. Not so with "Due Date" starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. The title itself provides the McGuffin...a baby is being born, but that is really pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of things. This film is actually "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" wrapped in marijuana humor and seasoned with a pinch of bigotry.

Robert Downey Jr. stars as Peter Highman, an uptight architect from Los Angeles who is trapped in Atlanta when an aspiring actor named Ethan Tremblay, played by Zach Galifianakis, inadvertently gets him placed on the no-fly list. Without his belongings, Peter has no way of renting a car and is forced to make the cross country trip with Ethan who promises to have Peter home in time for his son's birth later in the week. However, Ethan claims to have Glaucoma which necessitates the purchase and subsequent smoking of marijuana during the course of the trip. Ethan is also carrying around a coffee can which contains his dead father's ashes which he intends to spread at a choice spot along the route.

During the course of the trip, the men begin to find some common ground, but not before tumbling off an overpass and destroying the rental car, being assaulted by a war veteran-slash-Western Union employee (played by Danny McBride) and Ethan calling into question the paternity of Peter's unborn child. There's also an incident involving Mexican border patrol and several unscheduled stops which yield cameos by the likes of Juliette Lewis and Jamie Foxx. There appear to be some lame attempts at paternal allegory, but the idea gets lost in the sheer base-level despicableness of the action.

While the incidents in the John Hughes rendition of this story are no less bizarre and implausible, there is a prevailing feeling of heart and sympathy therein, whereas "Due Date" offers audiences very little explanation for the mental and emotional dispositions of the travelers, opting instead to spend 95 minutes showing us Zachy G's belly hair and a miniature bull dog overly exciting himself. Not for lack of effort by the actors, this film lands somewhere just outside "Pointless-Ville" and barely north of "Disgustin' Junction". It is not Holley-Approved, although I am sure there are plenty of men-children out there who will appreciate a scene or two, here and there.

"Due Date" is rated "R" for drug use, language and sexual content (if you can call it that), and is now playing in theaters all over the bay area.









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