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Published on November 5th, 2010 | by simeon

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What could possibly go wrong when you pair a stressed out father-to-be, Peter (Robert Downey Jr.), with the world’s worst road trip partner, Ethan (Zach Galifianakis), on a trip from Atlanta to Los Angeles? In a karmic way, at least these two men appear to be meant for each other.

Zach Galifianakis’s role as Ethan Tremblay is wildly funny, though he plays a role very similar to the one he played in The Hangover, with a slightly more childish demeanor. If his character in the Hangover was a 14 year old in an adult’s body, in this film he is a 7 year old boy.

Peter Highman, played by Robert Downey Jr., is obviously frustrated because he’s trying to get home to his very pregnant wife. This inevitably creates an anger that is only exacerbated by the stupidity and carelessness of Ethan. The minor truces and cease-fires they found during their trip were constantly being broken by something Ethan would do that was hilariously rude and dumb.

This film walked a fine line with both characters, with Ethan pushing the charm up to keep us from totally hating him, all the while allowing Peter be an asshole from time to time to keep us from being too sympathetic to him. In one particularly funny moment, during a side stop soon after they take off from Atlanta, we see Peter discipline a young boy in a ridiculously inappropriate way that makes us question his fitness as a father. It’s during these times that the movie really shines. The chemistry between them was good for the most part, but the inevitable reconciliation between them was rushed at the end, and while the actors more than did their jobs, the script didn’t give them very much cause to act so suddenly benevolent toward each other.

Overall, the movie was funny, but not quite funny enough. Some of the gags were fairly disgusting, and while most didn’t detract from the movie, only a few really came across as well-executed. This movie had the potential to be very funny, but with some unresolved plot holes and some long stretches where nothing much was going on, I wouldn’t really recommend this to my friends, despite the big name actors and hype.

Two stars out of five.


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