Reliance Home/Warner, Rs 599
Rating: *** 1/2
This is probably the 100th road movie made in Hollywood and the 50th one featuring an odd couple in the front seats. But it stands out among the genre’s classics — somewhere roughly between the all-out comedy of When Harry Met Sally and the lonesome darkness of Paris, Texas. And that’s not just because it’s the first film featuring a masturbating dog.
Five days before his first child is due, the always-very-sorted Peter misses his flight across the US. His lot is thrown in with that of Ethan, an always-slightly-off aspiring actor, and together they embark on a cross-country drive — along with Ethan’s dog Sonny. As the trio gets stoned, bruised and delayed on the way, Peter finds out that Ethan happens to be carrying his father’s ashes in a coffee tin that he wishes to empty in the Grand Canyon. When someone tries to make coffee from the contents, Ethan reckons there’s “eight cups of his father left”.
The casting is brilliant. The unreconstructed-but-loyal Zach Galifianakis is the unlikeliest travelling companion for the prim-and-selfish Robert Downey Jr. The friction between them is what powers the film forward. Todd Phillips, who got the best out of Galifianakis in Hangover, manages again to get the juices out of the head-in-the-air Ethan. And that lubricates the focused script just the right way.