Before Judd Apatow changed the landscape of comedy with romps led by lovable man-children, director Todd Phillips was the undisputed king of comedy. During the first half of the 2000s, films like Road Trip, Old School and Starsky & Hutch ruled the box office. While Apatow found success exposing the softer side of male vulnerability, Phillips presented a less apologetic version of prolonged male adolescence. This partially explains the surprising success of 2008’s The Hangover, a film that bought back the frat-pack humour to male-centric comedies.

In Due Date, Phillips brings back his newest muse (the breakout star of The Hangover), Galifianakis, the perfect comedian to carry his character’s loose cannon sensibilities. Galifianakis is a performer that can disarm the most offensives, misogynistic and inconsiderate of jokes, and turn it into a well-intended quip. However, as strong and funny as Galifianakis’ persona is, it needs to be planted in deadpan so that its bizarreness can pop; and that’s why paring him with the slick Downey Jr. is an ingenious casting move.

Right off the bat, Ethan Trembley (Galifianakis) gets Peter Highman (Downey) into trouble. He casually chit-chats with him about terrorists and bombs right before their plane to Los Angeles takes off, and as a result; they both get kicked out and added to the no-fly list. Peter becomes visibly stressed: his wife is giving birth to their first child, and not only is he forbidden from flying; but his wallet with all his cash and identification, is on the plane half-way to LA. Peter is left with no other option but to join Ethan on a cross-country road trip and suffer his nonstop chatter and absurd questions.

Due Date sticks to the road-trip formula and invests all its energy in the jokes. The dialogue is snappy and ridiculous, and Galifianakis keeps throwing one off-kilter nugget after the other. Downey plays the straight man to Galifianakis’ clown; but his character has a stronger backbone than a typical yes-man. At times, he’s a sounding board for Galifianakis; but at others, he bursts in alarming rage to offset the silliness, giving Due Date a balancing sense of urgency.

Not quite the laugh riot like The Hangover, Due Date is an extremely enjoyable and hilarious film, where the stakes are continually raised and the complications ensue at a dangerous rate. The film also gives the two leads charming moments together, where they get to learn more about each other. Due Date is a nice dramatic touch in between the non-stop laughter.