With Todd Phillips’ R-Rated Vegas comedy The Hangover being such a huge hit for Warner Bros., as well as how much of that success could be traced back to its debut at ShoWest in Vegas last year, it made perfect sense Warner Bros. would want to recreate that magic by debuting footage from Phillips’ new comedy Due Date at this year’s “The Big Picture” presentation.
The road trip comedy–from the director of Road Trip in fact–reunites Phillips with Zach Galifianakis, the breakout star of that enormous comedy hit. The two of them were on-hand to each receive a ShoWest Award, Phillips for ShoWest Director of the Year and Galifianakis for ShoWest Comedy Star of the Year, and they brought along none other than Robert Downey Jr. The premise of the movie is that Downey plays Peter Highman, an expectant father whose wife (Michelle Monaghan) is having a baby in five days but he’s not allowed to fly, so he gets a ride with Ethan Tremblay, an aspiring actor he meets played by Galifianakis. Things go horribly wrong from there in ways we were soon to find out about when the trio presented the very first footage from the movie, most of which was probably too raunchy even for a Red Band trailer!
At the presentation, Phillips came on stage and admitted he hadn’t really prepared what he was going to say because he kept on putting it off and then got distracted by all the footage shown so far. (The owls of Zack Snyder’s Legend of the Guardians freaked him out a bit, he admitted.) Phillips thanked the exhibitors for helping to make The Hangover such a big hit and reinforced the idea that comedies really should be seen in theaters where people can laugh with an audience. He invited Galifianakis and Downey on stage, and Zach immediately turned his back to the audience to look at himself on the giant monitor to which Phillips asked him to “Please behave.” Downey talked about what a great time he had at ShoWest last year, but Zach seemed only interested in getting his trophy, because he said that Robert told him that “you aren’t a real person until you win an award in Hollywood.” After a bit more banter between the two of them that really warmed the audience up, they introduced the footage, which was cut together with what sounded like vintage Soundgarden.
It starts with Downey’s character Peter being told by Matt Walsh (from “The Upright Citizens Brigade”) that his bags have been taken off the airplane because he’s on the “no-fly list,” and Downey tells him that he has a pregnant wife and that he has to get back to Los Angeles. Walsh responds, “Have you ever seen ‘Forrest Gump’? He ran across the country and he was pretty stupid.”
We then see him talking to his wife (Monaghan) on the phone, she is clearly ready to pop and wants him there but he tells her that he met someone (Galifianakis) and plans to drive there. “You’re going to travel 2,000 miles with a guy you just met?” she asks.
Much of the footage involves the interaction between Downey and Galifianakis, as the latter does weird and crazy things and the former reacts negatively. For instance, when Peter asks Ethan why he carries around his father’s ashes in a coffee can, he gets a flat response: “Because he’s dead, Peter.”
In one bit, Downey starts yelling at guy in a booth played by Danny McBride, “Why don’t you your job?” but then McBride comes out of his office and we see that he’s in a wheelchair. Before Peter can apologize because he feels bad, he’s attacked by McBride. Because Peter seems rather unnerved, Ethan makes a comment to Peter that he should “check himself before he wrecks himself.”
Amazed at the stupid things Ethan is doing, Peter asks him, “How have you not run yourself over with a car?”
“I’ve done that,” he’s told.
The highlight of the footage is clearly Ethan’s pooch Sonny, introduced in a scene where they’re parked and Ethan has his pants down at his ankles in the back seat, clearly masturbating, much to the discomfort of Peter who makes a comment about it being so inappropriate. Then we see a shot of Sonny joining in with his master, and Ethan said something really funny about it but everyone was laughing so hard (including us) that we couldn’t hear what he said. It was a hilarious scene that will never be shown on television or in theaters, which is a shame. Later, they’re having a conversation about what Peter should name his son, and Ethan suggests “Sonny,” and Pete responds, “I’m not going to name my son after your masturbating dog!”
We also see scenes of Jamie Foxx driving them in a pick-up truck and later, the three of them are sitting around and Foxx offers them coffee, but Peter notices that it tastes terrible and Foxx says that he used the coffee Ethan brought with him, so Downey does a spit take, realizing it isn’t coffee. Ethan just keeps on drinking the coffee down and says, “I think it tastes delicious.”
There was a lot more funny stuff than we could possibly catch in one viewing, but Warner Bros. and Phillips clearly have another raunchy comedy hit on their hands with this one, as does Downey and Galifianakis, going by the reaction the audience had to the trailer.
During the ShoWest Awards ceremony, the montage preceding Zach’s award included another clip from Due Date, involving Ethan trying to score drugs from Juliet Lewis. She opens the door and asks Downey, “Are you a cop?” to which he responds, “Why? Are you not a licensed pharmacist?” Afterwards, Downey asks Galifianakis, “What were you thinking? You spent almost all of our money on drugs?” Galifianakis tells him, “I don’t think in those terms. I’m not an accountant, Peter, I’m not even Jewish!”
Galifianakis’ acceptance speech was equally funny, as he began by reading one of Mo’Nique’s acceptance speech from the recent awards season, thanking her husband Sidney, etc. It’s that sort of deadpan humor that has made Galifianakis so popular, and you can actually watch the rest of his speech in this odd “sideways video” on YouTube. (It’s definitely R-rated with lots of foul language, similar to the movie.)
Before the presentation, ComingSoon.net had a chance to talk with Phillips, Downey and Galifianakis in a very quick semi-serious interview on the press line, teamed with Katey Rich of Cinema Blend. Unfortunately, our time went by so quickly, we didn’t get a chance to ask Phillips about The Hangover 2, already scheduled for next summer, or Downey about any of his other movies (like the sequel to his current Warner Bros. hit Sherlock Holmes, which has grossed $500 million worldwide!) You can check out the interview below. It was a fun few moments while they lasted, and you should be able to soon check out Katey’s footage of the interview to get another angle, since it was virtually impossible to capture all three guys’ responses/expressions at the same time.
Due Date is scheduled for release on November 5.