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Due Date Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy Review

Due Date (2010) movie poster Due Date

Theatrical Release: November 5, 2010 / Running Time: 95 Minutes / Rating: R / Songs List

Director: Todd Phillips / Writers: Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland (story & screenplay); Adam Sztykiel, Todd Phillips (screenplay)

Cast: Robert Downey Jr. (Peter Highman), Zach Galifianakis (Ethan Tremblay/Chase), Michelle Monaghan (Sarah Highman), Jamie Foxx (Darryl), Juliette Lewis (Heidi), Danny McBride (Lonnie), RZA (Airport Screener), Matt Walsh (TSA Agent), Brody Stevens (Limo Driver), Jakob Ulrich (Patrick), Naiia Ulrich (Alex), Todd Phillips (Barry), Marco Rodriguez (Federali Agent), Jon Cryer (Alan Harper), Charlie Sheen (Charlie Harper)

Available on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, On Demand and for Download 2/22!
Buy Due Date from Amazon.com: DVD Blu-ray Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy Video On Demand


Planes, Trains & Automobiles is one of my favorite movies of all time, so the notion that a new film would virtually remake it might have given me pause. However, Due Date, a cross-country road trip comedy much in the same vein as John Hughes' 1987 buddy flick, stars Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. I couldn't think of more appropriate casting than these two men with their highly entertaining but opposite offbeat styles. Also fitting into place was director Todd Phillips, not because his narrative debut was titled Road Trip but because, while shattering expectations and box office records, his previous film, Galifianakis' star-making The Hangover, displayed genuine and developing filmmaking talent.

Just days before the scheduled Caesarian birth of his first child, architect Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) is shocked and disappointed to find himself on the No Fly List. Offering a ride in his rented Subaru, scarved, permed Hollywood hopeful Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) is both the answer to and cause of Peter's dilemma.

In the Steve Martin straight man role, Downey plays Peter Highman, a serious Los Angeles architect whose wife Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) is scheduled to give birth to their first child via C-section in a few days. Returning home from a business trip in Atlanta, Peter meets Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis), a bearded fat man with a fresh perm who is traveling with his dog as well as his father's cremated remains in a coffee can.
Seated in neighboring rows on the same flight, Peter and Ethan butt heads a bit and their brief conversation gets agitated and winds up putting both on the No Fly List.

Escorted off the plane, Peter is left without his wallet and there isn't much a person can do without identification and money. So, against every impulse in his body, he reluctantly accepts the offer to ride in a rental car with the abrasive Ethan. An aspiring actor inspired by "Two and a Half Men", the friendly but infuriatingly stupid Ethan is challenging front seat company for the short-tempered Peter.

Per the standards long established in the road trip buddy comedy (a subgenre also embodied by films like Midnight Run and Tommy Boy), the mismatched men of course endure high-spirited adventure and outrageous obstacles en route to their destination.

To detail the trials in such a film is to rob some of the power of its anything-could-happen feel, so I won't go into specifics, other than to say that Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx plays Peter's friend, who lends assistance but raises suspicion; Juliette Lewis is a marijuana-dealing mother found on Craigslist; Danny McBride shows up as an unhelpful Western Union agent; and director Phillips upholds his tradition of making a sketchy cameo in a curly wig.

Peter (Robert Downey Jr.) discovers that Tremblay is Ethan's (Zach Galifianakis) stage surname, a wire transfer obstacle met with apathy by Western Union agent Lonnie (Danny McBride). Receiving third billing in a two-lead film, Michelle Monaghan has to settle for phone scenes playing pregnant wife Sarah Highman.

Planes, Trains... was basically a PG-13 film rated R for a single scene in which the F-word is put to extensive, colorful use primarily as an adjective. Due Date, on the other hand, like most of Phillips' films, earns its R rating. Profanity flows pretty regularly, most of it from the tense Downey Jr. (Galifianakis recalls his innocent Hangover persona with repeated exclamations of "shhhhhoot"). There is also, as implied above, some drug material, although it is ostensibly pharmaceutical in nature, for Ethan has glaucoma and a doctor's prescription.
Furthermore, there is a discomforting masturbation gag, which also involves Sonny the dog (who wears an Elizabethan collar for much of the film).

And yet those expecting the type of raunch in The Hangover and the other cover-cited credit Old School might be disappointed. Strengthening the connection to John Hughes' Thanksgiving masterpiece is a sweet side unforetold by Phillips' past work. It manifests itself not only in the obligatory happy ending (which is never in doubt), but in some sincere moments of sympathy and understanding that are deserved by the vulnerable Ethan. Just as John Candy's mustachioed and similarly curly shower curtain ring salesman elicited strong feelings with his big heart, hidden pain, and unawareness, so too does Galifianakis' compelling Ethan. Downey's fine chops really sell the tenderness, but his permed foil, director Phillips, and Phillips' three fellow credited writers (which include a pair of "King of the Hill" writers/producers) all deserve credit for pulling off this impressive balancing act delicately.

Naturally, most people aren't watching Due Date for pathos; they just want to laugh. The movie succeeds on this front, steadily amusing throughout. Certainly, questions of logic arise with such an improbable journey as premise, and while many are tastefully addressed, a glaring one prominently lingers until the very end, ultimately forgotten for the best. The movie really commits to its chemistry, never threatening to undermine its sturdy core with shenanigans, no matter how over-the-top some of them are.

Due Date adds to the rising career of Todd Phillips not only by quality but also by box office performance. While The Hangover's success was a tough act to follow, Due Date narrowly crossed the $100 million mark domestically, an achievement that is still significant in the world of live-action comedies. The movie also grossed nine figures overseas, an impressive feat for the genre; international earnings were more than double those of the comparable Date Night and The Other Guys. The numbers testify to the star power of Robert Downey Jr., most of whose other big hits of the past few years have benefitted from familiar title heroes. Downey's high-profile career boost continues to delight the masses without any loss of credibility. Meanwhile, expectations are high for Phillips and Galifianakis' inevitable The Hangover Part II, which will open on Memorial Day Weekend.

Due Date comes to home video this week in the three incarnations that recently became the standard over at Warner Home Video: a lightweight single-disc DVD ($28.98 SRP), a Blu-ray Disc boasting more bonus features ($29.98 SRP), and the same Blu-ray Disc joined by a movie-only/digital copy DVD in a combo pack ($35.99 SRP). The studio only sends out the lattermost for review, so that is what we look at here.

Due Date Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: DTS-HD 5.1 (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, Spanish, Portuguese)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish; BD-Only: Portuguese
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-50 & DVD-9)
Suggested Retail Price: $35.99
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available in standalone DVD ($28.98 SRP) and Blu-ray Disc ($29.98 SRP)
and on Video on Demand

VIDEO and AUDIO

Due Date looks pretty great in the Blu-ray's 2.40:1 transfer. The colors are bright and natural, the element is clean and sharp, and, beyond some grain, picture concerns are practically nil. The disc's DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack is adequate. Phillips characteristically includes an eclectic bunch of songs (full list at the bottom of the page), which are heard clearly without overpowering the other elements. There are also a few directional effects, but the bulk of the mix is dialogue, which remains crisp and deep.

A contrary couple of strangers (played by Zach Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr.) share an Atlanta to L.A. cross-country road trip together in the buddy comedy "Due Date."

The combo's DVD offers a sufficient presentation as well. It's not as sharp as the Blu-ray, but it's definitely not riddled with compression woes as some of Warner's recent new movie DVDs have been. Its Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is also fine and the audio isn't pronounced enough to mind it being less potent than the Blu-ray's.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

Due Date is joined by just a handful of bonus features, all of them on the Blu-ray Disc here. First up is a complete 3-minute "Two and a Half Men" scene featuring Ethan Tremblay. To say more would spoil the film's big closing joke, but it's a cool, albeit abruptly ended bit.

Three deleted scenes (3:55) are all extensions of existing moments,
the longest and most amusing of which finds Ethan revealing just how much he knows and loves "Two and a Half Men."

A gag reel (6:30) entertains as you would expect with ad-libs, missed marks, and contagious laughter emanating largely from the two leads. This is the only extra included on the standalone DVD.

The extras wrap up with a couple of mash-ups, which simply string together action (0:30) and some of Ethan's irritating questions (0:40) from the film.

The Blu-ray Disc opens with promos for Blu-ray, WB Insider Rewards, and a new Mortal Kombat game, followed by a trailer for Hall Pass. Seems like a missed opportunity for a Hangover 2 teaser.

The combo pack's DVD has no extras (not even the dubs of the standalone version) beyond the bit-gobbling digital copies offered in iTunes and Windows Media formats.

Both Blu-ray and DVD main menu recycle a poster image to a looped score excerpt. The Blu-ray's pop up with sound and animation, to reveal preview images and runtimes from the few extras.

The two discs are on opposite sides of an Elite eco-friendly Blu-ray case, with the DVD covered by BD-Live directions and the unique digital copy authorization code.

Driving west in a stolen border patrol vehicle, Ethan (Zach Galifianakis) and Peter (Robert Downey Jr.) make a stop at the Grand Canyon, where fears are faced and secrets shared.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Todd Phillips continues to better himself as a filmmaker. Though Due Date isn't the rowdy crowd-pleaser that The Hangover was, it's as good as that movie and with more heart and character. While it owes a lot to John Hughes (and doesn't top his film), it delights in its own regard with enough good ideas and a dynamite odd couple.

The film is good enough to recommend buying and while the combo pack covers your bases at a reasonable price, it doesn't offer much for standard DVD customers in no rush to upgrade to Blu-ray and those apathetic towards digital copies. Without an excess of bonus features on either format, buyers' choice should come down to how important having the film on multiple formats is.

Buy Due Date from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy / DVD / Blu-ray / On Demand

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Related Reviews:
Directed by Todd Phillips: The Hangover (Extreme Edition)
Robert Downey Jr.: Tropic Thunder Sherlock Holmes Iron Man Zodiac The Soloist Back to School The Shaggy Dog (2006)
Zach Galifianakis: Dinner for Schmucks Youth in Revolt Operation: Endgame G-Force Into the Wild
Michelle Monaghan: The Heartbreak Kid Gone Baby Gone Eagle Eye | Danny McBride: The Foot Fist Way | RZA: Funny People
2010 Comedies: The Other Guys Date Night Scott Pilgrim vs. the World The Bounty Hunter Hot Tub Time Machine Cyrus Grown Ups
Buddy Films: The Odd Couple Toy Story Hot Fuzz Rush Hour 3 Wild Hogs Knocked Up I Love You, Man
New: Daniel Tosh: Happy Thoughts Life As We Know It Middle Men You Again You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger

Due Date Songs List (in order of use): Sam & Dave - "Hold On, I'm Comin'", Billy Currington - "People Are Crazy", "Yankee Doodle House", Cream - "The White Room", Wolfmother - "New Moon Rising", Danny McBride - "Closing Time", Fleet Foxes - "Mykonos", MIMS - "This Is Why I'm Hot", Neil Young - "Old Man (Live at Massey Hall)", Pink Floyd - "Hey You", Cowboy Junkies - "Sweet Jane", Band of Horses - "Is There a Ghost", Rod Stewart - "Amazing Grace", Ice Cube featuring Chuck D - "Check Ya Self 2010", "Theme from 'Two and a Half Men'"

Due Date: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack:

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Download MP3s from Amazon.com

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Reviewed February 21, 2011.



Text copyright 2011 DVDizzy.com. Screencaps from standard DVD. Images copyright 2010 Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Green Hat Films, and 2011 Warner Home Video.
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