As a kind of acting, directing, editing, and even as a genre itself, comedy is seldom taken seriously. But as one of its most successful modern-day purveyors, Todd Phillips doesn't treat it as lightly: over the course of six movies as a director, he has steadily crafted one accomplished, straightforwardly entertaining comedy after another, launching careers and sharpening comedic voices, all by finding the right collaborators and then focusing their collective talents to maximize audience entertainment.

But after 'The Hangover' not only became the biggest comedy of all time, earned him some of the best reviews of his career and catapulted costar Zach Galiafianakis into the national spotlight, Phillips didn't sit around congratulating himself. Rather, he leapt feet first into 'Due Date,' a road trip movie that pairs Galiafianakis with another irresistible comedic actor, Robert Downey Jr., in a story about two mismatched travelers who are trying not to kill each other while making a trip across country.

Cinematical sat down with Phillips at the Los Angele press day for 'Due Date.' In addition to talking about why he went back to work so quickly, he discussed developing the film's odd, often hilariously mean tone, and examined the idea of collaborating with an actor like Galiafianakis as his own profile continues to rise.