Monday night saw the NY premiere of Due Date, which had the distinction of being held in one of the few bedbug-free movie theater in the city. The film, directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, attracted the likes of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Russell Simmons, Darren Aronofsky, and Pablo Schreiber (alias Nico Sobotka). After a few opening remarks from Andrew Saffir of the Cinema Society and Caroline Hirsch of the NYCF the lights were dimmed and Due Date began. That was when the real spectacle started.
From their introductory remarks (“Zach? Want to say anything that will lose someone else a job?”) to their on-screen chemistry, Galifianakis and Downey Jr. are what makes the movie work. Galifianakis’ delivery saves even the emotional scenes from growing too dark, and RDJ somehow turns “garbage face” an endearing term for a French bulldog. The narrative keeps a frenzied pace, with plenty of pathos interspersed between slapstick gags. Several elements were reminiscent of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, the classic by John Hughes which acts as the gold standard for road trip movies. Still, Phillips’ signature touch is omnipresent and the dialogue feels as though written specifically for the film’s affable stars. Considering the success of the actor-director pairing in the past, we’re not surprised.
When the first posters of Downey Jr. and Galifianakis came out the pairing seemed odd, like beer and cereal. Though both are wonderful on their own, they don’t initially seem like a good combination. Welcome, friend, to the delicious world of beereal. All in all, it was a great way to kick off the seventh year of the week-long New York Comedy Festival.