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Zach Galifianakis and Paul Rudd are the leading man-whores in the bromance arms race. Neither has any standards, and will give it up to just about anyone who asks.

All either cares about is giving as many different dudes as possible 90-minute sessions of hot, dirty, unprotected platonic bonding.

Galifianakis gets it on with Robert Downey Jr. in Due Date, the latest shot across the bow, not to be outdone after Rudd added Steve Carell to his harem earlier this year with Dinner for Schmucks.

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This round goes decisively to Galifianakis, whose film is funny throughout and the only one to include the necessary element of a masturbating dog.

Due Date is a wholesale ripoff of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, with Downey as Peter, the snobby, uptight businessman forced to travel cross-country with the pudgy, slovenly Ethan (Galifianakis). Peter hates Ethan, mainly because as soon as they meet Ethan gets Peter thrown off his flight home to see his expecting wife (Michelle Monaghan). Ethan loves Peter, if only because Peter hates him and Ethan likes a challenge.

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Galifianakis is so darned adorable as Ethan that it’s impossible to share Peter’s fury. A hapless lug who carries his recently deceased dad’s ashes in a coffee can, Ethan holds dear to his dream of becoming an actor and one day appearing as a special guest on Two and a Half Men. Kudos to the screenwriters for thinking of such a pathetic aspiration.

Downey is the Larry Appleton to Galifianakis’s Balki Bartokomous, putting hand to the forehead as Ethan engages in all sorts of hijinks, such as flipping their rental car off freeway overpasses, getting Peter beaten down by a cane-wielding Western Union employee and chased by Mexican Federales.

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The material may not be as inspired as The Hangover, director Todd Phillips’ last outing, but it never bores and keeps the laughs in the theater so loud you’ll miss enough few follow-up jokes to want to see the movie again.

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Now the ball is back in Rudd’s court. He’ll have to top that masturbating dog, perhaps with a masturbating monkey or something.

Starring Zack Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr. Written by Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland, Adam Sztykiel and Todd Phillips, based on a story by Cohen and Freedland. Directed by Phillips. 95 minutes. Rated R.

Check out Villarreal’s blog at Becauseitoldyouso.com.

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