Todd Phillips: Unrepentant ‘tude spells record-breaking success

Comedy Impact Report 2011: Bigscreen Bigshots

Forget the old saw about comedy not getting any respect. Todd Phillips effectively demolished such thinking with the one-two punch of directing “Due Date” ($211 million worldwide) and “The Hangover Part II” ($581 million) within a few months of one another. He co-wrote the latter, which broke records to become the most successful R-rated comedy of all time. The secret of his success? Appealing to a broad demographic and avoiding any weak-kneed “lessons learned” approach to comedy resolution.

“I think it connects with so many people because it’s unapologetically funny,” he says. “No one apologizes for all the bad behavior. Most Hollywood movies always tidy it up at the end and apologize. We don’t do that.” Phillips, who also produces his films under his Green Hat Films banner, is producing “Project X,” a comedy directed by Nima Nourizadeh, and working on “Hangover III.” “I don’t love producing,” he admits. “It’s not a goal of mine, to put out five movies a year. Green Hat really exists as a development company for my own projects. I have no real interest in spreading myself too thin with outside projects. Writing and directing are my main things.”