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Zach Galifianakis on 'Due Date' versus 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles'

November 8, 2010 | 12:00 pm


If you caught "Due Date" over the weekend, the film may have sparked some fond memories of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," the 1987 classic by John Hughes starring Steve Martin and John Candy. In both movies, two wildly incompatible travelers from opposite ends of the personality spectrum are thrust together by a perfect storm of bad mojo, dumb luck and financial roadblocks to embark on a madcap cross-country journey. A marathon of indignities, car wrecks, rough rides in the back of pickups and, of course, hilarity ensues. 

In "Due Date," Zach Galifianakis plays Ethan Tremblay, the annoying guy-with-heart who shares much in common with Candy's Del Griffith, while Robert Downey Jr.'s Peter Highman is the straight man, just like Martin's Neal Page.

Our own Chris Lee, who interviewed Galifianakis recently, asked him about how the two movies stack up.

Lee: "Planes Trains and Automobiles" -- how much did you guys talk about that movie during production?

Galifianakis: If you see two guys on a road trip that are the opposite of each other, of course that's going to come up. "PT+A" is such a classic movie, I can see where those comparisons will come from. But after people see the movie, I think that talk will stop.

Lee: John Candy leaves his towels on the floor, and you plunge your car off an overpass.

Galifianakis: This is a more extreme version. Again, Robert –- I think Steve Martin's character, which is so wonderful, it would have been tempting to go in that direction. Traveling business man. Trying to get home. Insurance guy. Probably a nice guy. Robert starts off being an angry guy –- which I think is different enough. ["Planes, Trains and Automobiles"] is one of the greatest movies. When John Candy takes his sock off on the plane, that's funny enough. But then he starts beating the bottom of his feet with his sock? It doesn't get much better than that.

Check out some of the similarities between the two films in this slide show.


Betsy Sharkey reviews "Due Date"

Photo: Steve Martin and the late John Candy starred in the 1987 movie "Planes, Trains and Automobiles."  Credit: Paramount Pictures


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