This essay is about the detailed analysis of the 2010 comedy movie ‘Due date’ starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. It was the direction of Todd Phillips and writing of Todd Phillips, Adam Sztykiel, Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland that made the movie hilariously comic. It is genre of dark comedy. The acting of Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis along with Michelle Monaghan and Jamie Foxx is amazing. The ‘hangover’ series fame director Todd Phillips and his screenplay team has a knack of producing genuine humor out of awkward real life situation. The situational comedy of this movie is down to the earth, and it can happen to anybody. The script and the plot is crisp, and packs huge comic potential. Further down the line, an analysis of the humor part of this movie will be the center of the discussion.
The movie plot is very simple. An uptight architect Peter Highman who is out on the business trip is coming back home to Los Angeles to his pregnant wife who is expecting a baby soon with a C-section. The day of his travel, he has this weird dream about a bear chewing the umbilical cord of his wife after the delivery of is first child. His character is very sophisticated and decent. There are some skeletons in his closet pertaining to the relationship of his wife and his best friend Daryl, but he is very understanding about it. He was off to a good start in the morning with a pleasant conversation with his wife with regards to the name of the baby, until he meets the dopey marijuana addict Ethan Tremblay. The character of Ethan Tremblay is unbelievably comic at the minutest level. The wannabe actor is an addict and childish to the core. Doesn’t have any sense of manners or social conventions. After attending the funeral of his father, he packs the remains into a coffee jar, which explains the depths of the mental degeneration of the character. Both these characters are completely opposite of each other. In a perfect world, they would miles away from each other, but here they are bound to have a journey across the country to reach the same destination. This odd couple falls under ‘No fly list’ because of the humiliating encounter and a series of comic misunderstanding at the airport security. Of course, the characteristic nature of Ethan is not able to understand the gravity of any situation happening around him. This qualities of Ethan makes the comic element of the movies light up in every scene. With numerous comic incidents like this, finally, they reach to the hospital in L.A. the dream that Peter saw the other day comes true in the end. He finally assumes that it has to be a good sign.
The Glaucoma medication and Western Union scenes
However, their journey takes a pit stop in Birmingham, where they have to stop to purchase the medical marijuana for the so called ‘Glaucoma’ for Ethan. He spends all his money on the dope and has only sixty bucks for the rest of the trip. To solve this problem, Peter asks his wife to wire the money to Ethan who was under the fake stage name. So, after a lot of beat down at the Western Union, Peter decides to ditch the psychotic Ethan at the washroom and runs away with the car with the ashes of Ethan’s father in it. The guilt brought him back to suffer more with Ethan.
Element of lack of common sense (Waffle House scene)
Ethan doesn’t have any common sense. His travel partner has to suffer every mistake he makes. The comic is product of exaggeration of increased stupidity of the Ethen’s character. I one scene, they are eating in the waffle house, where during the meal, Ethan starts to sneeze. When asked, he says that he is allergic to waffles. At every stop Peer has to remind him to go to the toilet.
Fiasco at Daryl’s house
At Daryl’s house, after unfortunate coffee fiasco, he keeps drinking the same coffee made out of his father’s ashes even after realizing the fact that there are ashes in the coffee. The same way the scene where the characters drink the ashes of Ethan’s father is very humorous, but at the same time, it is very gross. After Daryl chucks them out of his house, on the way, Ethan says, “My father enjoyed coffee, and in the end he was enjoyed as a coffee.” That dialogue is very funny.
The Sleeping habit
Even after one deadly accident due to Ethan’s habit of sleeping while driving the car, he sleeps again and leads them to the borders of Mexico. Ethan’s is so stupid that he shots peter without even realizing it. Ethan was holding the wallet of Peter throughout the journey. Even after so many ordeals and hardships, he doesn’t have a sense of revealing this to Peter just because he didn’t want to travel alone. While driving the car he accidently intoxicates Peter also with his marijuana smoking. Such instances makes the element of humor very evident in the move.
Both the main characters are contradictory to each other. The comedy in the whole movie is bi-product of the arguments of the both sides. The maturity and sensibility of peter is constantly under destruction due to the repetitive comic juxtapositions of Ethan’s character. The endless irritation that Peter faces due to farfetched senselessness of Ethan itself brings a lot of humor on the table. The outburst of peter on Ethan and his dog are very comic. The genuine anger of the character leads him to actually spit on the dog. That scene is one of the funniest moments of the movie.
The movie is filled with some of the oddest comic scenarios which are awkward if happens in real life situations. For example, the scene at the marijuana purchase in Birmingham, peter, who is going to be a father in the near future gets angry on the child and intentionally punches the child. Which is an awkward comic element.
However, the movie is a joyride of a lot of light humor and fun. The sheer enjoyment of sarcastic comedy. The depiction and portrayal of each character with amazing acting brings the comic genre to the whole new level. With twisted plot and genuinely humorous comic moments in the movie, the movie is a spot-on comic extravaganza. The dumb unawareness of Ethan’s character makes every dialogue a funny conversation. The pain and suffering of peter throughout the movie and repetitive comic epiphanies mixed with guilt are also able to deliver a wave of laughter. There are many scenes and sequences throughout the movie that comes naturally in spot line when the analysis of the movie begins.
Bradshaw, Peter. "Due Date – review." The guardian 4 Nov. 2010. 9 Nov. 2014 <http://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/nov/04/due-date-film-review>.