Prelude to a smooch

DeVito pic is 'nasty funny,' Williams sez

Seeking to fulfill a rainy-night need for a good laugh, Warner Bros. preemed its quirky comedy “Death to Smoochy” Tuesday at Gotham’s Ziegfeld Theater.

Robin Williams introduced the pic with a short standup act, seemingly a rehearsal for his solo standups running back-to-back at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall later in the week. Williams warned the pic was not appropriate for children; he didn’t address its suitability for adults.

“This movie will polarize people,” said “Smoochy” producer Andrew Lazar, wading through crowd at Laura Belle Restaurant’s after-bash with a leggy brunette in tow. Lazar’s statement proved all too true. A well-known Gotham exec whispered, “Hysterical, don’t you think?” Nearby, a producer intoned, “What were they thinking?”

Asked what drew him to the project, Williams told Daily Variety that the script made him laugh out loud. “It was nasty funny,” he said. “Today, anything that makes people laugh in a big way is good.”

Director Danny DeVito and co-stars Ed Norton and Catherine Keener were no-shows. But appearances by Warner Bros. Pictures honcho Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Billy Crystal, Harvey Fierstein, Debbie Harry, Isabella Miko, Barry Levinson and gave the gawkers standing out in the rain their money’s worth, one hopes. Or at least a chuckle.

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