There were a few things that happened in the world over the weekend that didn’t involve Comic-con, although you’d be hard pressed to find them. One such happening was casting news involving Robert Downey, Jr. who was at Comic-con to promote both Iron Man 2 and the Christmas release of Sherlock Holmes. And unlike a lot of actors who benefit from career resurrections (John Travolta being the prime example), Downey, Jr. is not letting his opportunities go to waste. He’s been nearly perfect in script choices for the last couple of years, mixing action with comedy (Tropic Thunder) and drama (Zodiac) and even a juicy minor role (Charlie Bartlett) and some Oscar bait (The Soloist) that didn’t, unfortunately, pan out (though, it can hardly be blamed on Downey).
He’s keeping his resume fresh, and continues to bounce around genres. Last Friday, he signed on to Due Date, to play the straight-man to Zach Galifianakis, who is probably the next big comedy star (at least until he runs the gamut and ends up in bad family films). Due Date, as we wrote last week, is the Galifianakis’ follow-up to The Hangover, and it comes from the same director, Todd Phillips, who may be inconsistent, but has provided some of the best R-rated comedies of the decade (Road Trip, The Hangover and Old School).
Due Date, as you may recall, feels similar in description to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles crossed with The Hangover. Downey will play an expectant father on a road trip with a mismatched partner (Galifianakis), racing to get to the birth of his first child. But, as Todd Phillips’ best movies have proven, it’s not really about the concept, it’s about putting together the right cast and having the right script. This one comes from Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland, unproven television writers (“King of the Hill”), but I suspect if they managed to get both Downey, Jr. and Galifianakis to sign on, it’s better than generic.