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MOVIE REVIEW: Due Date

Zach Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr. are...passably funny

(L-R) Zach Galifianakis as Ethan and Robert Downey Jr. as Peter in "Due Date."

(L-R) Zach Galifianakis as Ethan and Robert Downey Jr. as Peter in "Due Date."

  • (L-R) Zach Galifianakis as Ethan and Robert Downey Jr. as Peter in "Due Date."
  • (L-R) Robert Downey Jr. as Peter and Zach Galifianakis as Ethan in "Due Date."
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I’ve had friends tell me I shouldn’t review comedies because I never like any.

I tell them they just have low standards when it comes to what is funny. A perfect example is the jokes they send in email.

How often do you read a long list, only to find one or two of the things funny? Or maybe it’s a story that goes on and on, for a mediocre punchline.

If you’re asking me to sit in a movie for two hours and it’s a comedy -- make me laugh.

I believe you can do two different kinds of comedy. An over-the-top crazy movie like Airplane, where there’s a joke every five seconds and most of them are funny.

Or, you can do a movie that is trying to be realistic, but is humorous. Midnight Run and Tootsie are two of my favorites that fall into that category (although my mom doesn’t think anyone would’ve believed Dustin Hoffman was a real woman).

So many comedies today want the best of both worlds. They want you to buy into a story as if it could happen, yet the craziness they present make it unrealistic. And the screenwriters get a warped sense of what is funny when movies like Jackass make $100 million.

Due Date is a raunchier updated version of the Planes, Trains, and Automobiles story (one of the few John Hughes movies I wasn’t nuts about).

The movie has a few problems.

One, is that the main characters aren’t very likable. Two, most of the jokes they throw at you aren’t funny.

It seemed to work when other actors came in for their scenes.

Juliette Lewis was funny as a drug dealer, who loved Zach Galifianakis’ Marlon Brando impersonation. As he does a famous scene from Godfather she asks “Did you write that?” He responded, “No. The mob did.”

Good stuff.

Jamie Foxx has a good scene as a famous football player that reveals lots of emails and texts from Robert Downey, Jr.’s wife.

And Danny McBride, who is on the unfunny East Bound and Down show, always makes me laugh playing obnoxious guys on screen. In this, he works at a Western Union that’s going to close at 6:45 p.m. so he can make his reservations at Chili’s.

All in all, the movie did surprise me, since I only laughed at one scene in the trailers (and those usually show the best parts).

Sometimes a joke would be so unfunny (Galifianakis masturbating while Downey is sleeping next to him), it baffled me as to why the crowd was laughing. Now, when they show the dog taking after its “master” – that was a cute sight gag.

Enough of the jokes ended up working that I doubt anybody will be mad they saw this. Some will love it, and some will be disappointed by it but will begrudgingly admitted they laughed a few times. And since the director of The Hangover did this (and it also starred Galifianakis), everyone is going to say “…but it wasn’t as good as The Hangover.”

I’m giving it a C-, only because it was better than the commercials for it. Had I just blindly bought a ticket after seeing the movie poster, I would’ve given it a D+.

I expect smarter material from a guy that was one of the best stand-up comedians around, and an A-lister that was a two-time Oscar nominee.