Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Zach Galifianakis, why?

  Zach Galifianakis, a name that makes me glad computers have a copy/paste option. I couldn't imagine being that guy and writing my name for school reports and exams day in and day out. Ouch. I feel for the guy, I really do. Especially considering that I actually think he has golden moments of comedy, that he doesn't seem to be capitalizing on. Take for instance a movie I had the pleasure (I'm being nice, it's my nature) of watching at the budget theater here in town: Due Date. So yes, we're doing this, SHR's Review of (God help me) Due Date.

You know... there really aren't ANY warning signs.

  So OK, let me get this out of the way: I enjoyed Old School and The Hangover. Both are silly comedies yes, but at least they seemed to have some general direction as to where they were going. So what exactly is wrong with this movie? It has the same director, Robert Downey, Jr. (playing the insufferable, yet identifiable Peter Highman) and Zach Imadothistohislastnamefortheremainderofthereview as Ethan Tremblay (who is damn near unidentifiable with, save for a sad dead daddy story). Released in November of last year, you'd think I would have known better and stay clear. But, let me at least make my case: I already stated I liked the previous director's offerings, the movie was compared to Planes, Trains and Automobiles by Roger Ebert, AND it also managed to made almost $100 million at the box office. So maybe curiosity got the best of me this weekend...

That dog is going to steal the entire movie from Zach in about 30 minutes.

  So we start our movie with Peter Highman (pronounced "Hymen" by the way) talking to his wife about names for their incoming bundle of joy. We get a taste of his "by the numbers" character, not to mention inflated ego, as we learn that he's in Atlanta and is about to fly to Los Angeles for his wife's C-Section. After a little run in with Zach Ohmygodthisnameisinsanelyhardtoeventryandtypeout's Ethan outside the Airport (and a weed bag interchange later) we get our dynamic duo on the plane where, after a duel of words, they get kicked off and placed on the "No Fly List." To make matters worse, our straight man, Peter, has lost his wallet (along with his I.D., credit cards, etc) and is trapped in Atlanta. Ethan, feeling perhaps responsible for his shenanigans, offers to help Peter drive all the way to Los Angeles. Along the way they: bond, get in all kinds of criminal misadventures, have sexual escapades (mostly just Ethan), commit animal cruelty (mild, but easily the funniest scene in the entire movie), fight a handicapped clerk (and LOSE), drink some ashes as coffee (I almost want to be making that up), have an amazing (choreography wise) car crash, and even manage to throw in a decent car chase in the mix.   

"Good thing I brought the dog to make up for my shortcomings."

 The performances are ok, but I have to say that Jamie Foxx's 10-15 minute appearance was easily the highlight of the movie, since he sold the incredulity of being around GawhatthehellamIwearing much better than Downey did. Downey plays the angry straight man well, we already knew this. I think the problem is that he seems entirely too patient to be so angry. For someone who loses his sh*t so quickly in the airport, and in every subsequent scene (including actually punching a kid in the gut), he sure doesn't seem to mind going back to Ethan's horse manure. There's other little things that bug me, like "Why couldn't Peter get more money from his wife and DITCH Ethan?" It's not like he was hurting for money... 500 just seemed so mundane for a guy that seems to roll in thousand dollar bills. And while I appreciate Director Todd Phillips' attempt at trying to humanize the: pot smoking, overly flamboyant, idiotic, and just plain nasty Ethan Tremblay via his sad dead father story and Hollywood aspirations; I found it incredibly hard to get on board with the character. Zack was fine as background noise in The Hangover. Hell, Will Ferrel's idiot manchild in Old School was at least identifiable since he was a married man (who wasn't ready) that wanted to live life vicariously through his friend's fraternity. Ethan Tremblay is just a terrible character (thank God for that mutt of his) with zero redeemable features, which can be a problem when you try and force a happy resolution at the end between a hardass of a man and a weak little man.   

"Whatcha doin' in my border, putos?"
  But at least there ARE some laughs in this comedy, mindless and pointless for the most part; but by God are they some hardy laughs. I'm in no way, shape or form condoning animal cruelty of ANY sort; but the scene where Robert Downey, Jr. was going off on Galifianakis' character and then proceeded to SPIT on the dog (for no reason) had me literally laughing for about 5 minutes after the scene was well over. Maybe that says more about me than anything, but the random act, coupled by the rage in Downey's face, just made a great visual gag. Also I have to give credit for the chase scene with the Aduanas Trailer in the border of Mexico. That entire scene was pure comedic genius, it's just unfortunate that nothing else about the film gets more afterthought. A silly movie, with some great comedic timing here and there, but lacking a thread to make it remotely classic in the vein of Planes, Trains and Automobiles as Mr. Ebert alluded to. And yes, my rating is me being extremely nice; and giving a full hat to the aforementioned dog spitting scene.



  1. Post Column Note: "The Top 10 Stupidest Moments in Bleach History" is in the works.

    Just thought I'd throw that out there.

    1. Post-Post Column Note: "The Top 10 Stupidest Moments in Bleach History" has still not been done. Over 4 years of waiting.

      Just thought I'd throw that out there.