starring Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Juliette Lewis, Jamie Foxx, and Danny McBride
directed by Todd Phillips
screenplay by Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland
Warner Bros. (2010)
I would not have pegged Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis as an effective comedy duo, but this movie demonstrated that they have an interesting chemistry on screen together. Go figure.
Downey stars as Peter, a self-absorbed architect on his way from Atlanta to L.A. in order to rejoin his pregnant wife and witness the birth of his first child. Through a series of unfortunate events, upon meeting Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis), Peter is kicked off his flight, put on a no-fly list, and must find a way to make it cross-country without his wallet or luggage. Ethan to the rescue--but not really, since Ethan is responsible for Peter getting kicked off the plane in the first place through his eccentric and grating nature.
With no other options, Peter joins Ethan on a cross-country road trip that has them encountering a plethora of oddball characters including an ass-kicking paraplegic (Danny McBride) and a drug-dealing mother (Juliette Lewis). It's a combination of dark comedy and slapstick in what winds up being kind of an uneven film, compared to that other beloved Todd Phillips film, The Hangover.
Downey and Galifianakis are great to watch as they play off each other in assorted scenes, and even play the smattering of serious moments with a sincere tone that actually works, but the relationship between the characters becomes less and less believable as their antics become more and more zany. And when the inevitable blow-up occurs, the end results are simply too far-fetched to be believed. A happy end just didn't feel right for a movie like this, but I suppose audiences would have rejected a more genuine ending.
It's a funny enough film to rent some weekend, but it falls well short of the better slapstick comedies to hit theaters in the last few years, which is a shame because there was a ton of potential here.