Virtually every critic is comparing Due Date with director Todd Phillips's last movie, The Hangover . This one is funny, most of them conclude; it's just not as funny. "The movie probably contains enough laughs to satisfy the weekend audience," Roger Ebert writes unenthusiastically in the Chicago Sun-Times . "Shockingly, it's funny. Often in shocking or at least wildly inappropriate ways," Roger Moore remarks in the Orlando Sentinel. Many of the critics also conclude that it's kind of a retread of Planes, Trains and Automobiles. And yet others work both titles into their reviews, like Claudia Puig in USA Today , who manages to mention both movies in one sentence. "This might feel like a raunchy retread of Planes, Trains and Automobiles striving for Hangover status," she writes. And Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times comments, "It is nearly impossible to watch Due Date , the new comedy from The Hangover filmmaking phenom Todd Phillips and not be hit by a wave of nostalgia for the far better Planes, Trains and Automobiles ." Some critics wonder why Robert Downey Jr., now a bona fide movie star, would have accepted a role in this sort of raunchathon. "It's the waste of an actor," remarks Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle. But other critics insist that Downey and costar Zach Galifianakis make a fine odd couple. "Watching Downey's vein-popping discomfiture in The Company of Galifianakis is the best and possibly only reason for seeing the film," writes Peter Howell in the Toronto Star . Surprisingly, it's a female critic who gives this movie, aimed at males, its most laudatory review. Ann Hornaday writes in the Washington Post that " Due Date promises to be a hit with its core constituency, satisfying Hangover fans with the steady stream of slapstick gags, raunchy jokes, stoner comedy, crunching action and caustically aggressive Male Bonding they've come to expect from the Phillips atelier."

05/11/2010