Todd Phillips is one of those guys I'm always happy to sit down and talk to, no matter how much I do or don't like his most current film, because I know he'll be frank in an interview, and because I've learned over time spent interviewing him that as long as you treat him fairly in print, he'll treat you the same in person.
We live in an age of controlled media spin as the norm, so on those occasions we actually hear someone speak their mind in an unfettered way, it's a little shocking. I was enjoying the reaction earlier today to an interview Phillips gave to Movieline, and the way people were getting upset or defensive about what he said. I don't think any outlet with a voice as gleefully confrontational as Movieline's should ever be surprised if someone has a strong reaction to what they do, even if it's negative.
That's what you risk when you adopt a tone that is largely built on snark, which is the coin of the realm these days. I'm occasionally cutting with the way I'll sneak a joke into something, but for the most part, I find that sincerity works best when writing about film because the only real reaction that matters is the genuine one. I could easily put my finger up to the wind, figure out which way things are going, and come out on the side of the majority on every film. I could use sarcasm to distance myself from my emotional responses to films, and mask it all by building one-liners that score points on the various things I cover.
But that's not me. I prefer to just speak directly, both in my reviews and in my interviews, and the result in this particular case was a relaxed interview of just under ten minutes. Phillips is already hard at work on "The Hangover Part II," but you'd never know it from how relaxed he was during this press day.
We touch on the whole Galifianakis/Gibson cameo thing, and I like the way Phillips addresses it. I feel like he goes back and forth between films that are very funny and films that are just funny, which is to say that even the lesser films on his filmography are fun, and I hope we continue to chat about his work on many films in the future.
"Due Date" opens in theaters everywhere this Friday.