REVIEW: Due Date

Due Date
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Written by: Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland, Adam Sztykiel, & Todd Phillips
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakias, Michelle Monaghan, and Jamie Foxx

Watching Zach Galifianakias’ Ethan Tremblay, an aspiring actor, act out a scene given to him by Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.)with  amateurism and then turn it into an emotionally-charged turn reminded me of Mulholland Dr. The comparisons with that 2001 masterpiece and this forgettable buddy comedy should end there, but they don’t.  A lot of Todd Phillips’ latest is a hallucinatory road trip filled with drugs, car wrecks, and bizarre tonal changes.  Take my advice, stick with David Lynch.

Phillips could’ve done anything after he sailed away with the box office last summer with The Hangover.  Instead, he decided to recycle his use of Galifianakias as the awkward, sympathetic idiot and pair him with Robert Downey Jr for a road movie based on Plains, Trains and Automobiles.  It’s an appealing match-up ripe with potential, almost none of which is utilized.  The two actors at the center were almost given too much freedom to be themselves, letting their personalities fill in the (many) blanks the script left out both plot-wise and on the laughing front.

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REVIEW: Get Him to the Greek

Get Him to the Greek
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Written by: Nicholas Stoller & Jason Segel (screenplay)
Starring: Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, Elisabeth Moss, and Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs

A spin-off is a notoriously bad idea when you’re looking for quality.  You get fast cash opening weekend, and then you sink like the Titanic when people realize what you’re selling is crap.  Thankfully, this is not the case with Get Him to the Greek.

What’s great about this movie is not just its perfectly paired comic dream duo (Russell Brand and Jonah Hill), but that it only references Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the “original,” in one obligatory millisecond.  Other than that, it’s allowed to stand on its own comic footing with the funniest character from Sarah Marshall, cocky coke addict Aldous Snow.

Brand became a star partially because of this then-supporting role.  He combined his expert comedic delivery with great material very, very well.  Here he gets to shine even brighter, pulling out all the stops and even finding a soul in a modern comedy character.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say brilliant, but it’s a nice surprise.

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