Whether he’s lovingly suffering as Phoebe Buffay’s boyfriend or introducing clips of Mac and Me on talk shows, Paul Rudd is, and always has been, a delight to watch. Next year, he joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Ant-Man, but first he’s churning out another romantic comedy with Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler in They Came Together. To celebrate, let’s take a look at the essential films of Paul Rudd’s career.
Honourable mentions: Dinner for Schmucks, an underrated comedy featuring Steve Carell (Although I’ll admit it’s quite ridiculous) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which is a phenomenal teen drama, but to call it a Paul Rudd essential wouldn’t be right considering most people probably forget he’s even in it.
Anchorman is one of the best comedy movies of all time, and a big part of that is the amazing five-piece main cast made up of Will Ferell, Christina Applegate, David Koechner, SteveCarell and Rudd as Brian Fantana, the lead field reporter for Channel 4 News. Brian is a womaniser, even though his tactics simply come off as stupid, and let’s not forget his brilliantly named genitals (His penis is The Octagon, and his testes are James Westfall and Dr. Kenneth Noisewater). Paul Rudd plays the role to perfection, and if you haven’t seen Anchorman by now, you need to get on that. 60% of the time, you’ll laugh all the time.
Judd Apatow is a hero of modern comedy, producing some of the funniest flicks around. He made his directorial debut in 2005 with The 40 Year Old Virgin, which is exactly how it sounds. Andy (Steve Carell) is a nerdy electronics store employee who has somehow made it to 40 having never had sex. His work friends make it their mission to get him laid, as he pursues a relationship with a shop owner (Catherine Keener). The 40 Year Old Virgin is comedy gold; Steve Carell seems like he’s born to play every role he touches, with this being one of his funniest to date. Rudd, Seth Rogen and Jane Lynch offer hilarious supporting acts in this laugh-a-minute comedy.
Seth Rogen is very much a love-him-or-hate-him kind of guy, but even detractors must admit that Knocked Up is one of his better performances. After a night of drunken sex, Ben (Rogen) and Alison (Katherine Heigl) find out they are parents-to-be, and must put aside their differences in order to create a healthy relationship for the sake of their child, whilst Alison’s sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) and her husband Pete (Rudd) struggle with their marriage. Apart from Katherine Heigl’s annoying presence (Does she have another kind?), Knocked Up is a first class comedy. A lot of the humour is stupid, and you laugh at it and then go “Did I really just laugh at that?” but then you stop caring because it was hilarious. On top of that, it’s quite sweet too, as you can expect from the plot, and does tackle some serious issues like the problems in Pete and Debbie’s marriage. A spin-off sequel titled This is 40 saw Rudd and Mann reprise their roles as they now struggle with getting older. It’s a decent comedy, but doesn’t quite compare to this.
This film’s praises have already been sung this week in our Jason Segel Essentials, but just to sum it up, I Love You, Man is Rudd’s finest work to date. His best performance, his funniest script, and his most entertaining comedy.
I think every American Pie fan has gone through the sad experience of realising that Seann William Scott just isn’t that funny outside of Stifler, but that’s not to say he doesn’t have his good moments. Role Models is definitely one of his good moments. Rudd and Scott star as two salesman who cause trouble at a school, and avoid jail time by becoming mentors to two troubled youths. It had the opportunity to be terrible; the cliched set up of “irresponsible people looking after young children” could’ve been the film’s downfall, but quite frankly it’s brilliant. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is hilarious, in a time before everyone stopped caring about him, and Bobb’e J. Thompson surprises and shocks as foul mouthed kid Ronnie, who has an obsession with breasts. The idea of “small child swearing a lot” is also an idea that doesn’t exactly promise good results, but has been known to deliver them, and Ronnie is one of the best examples. It has heart, but ultimately, Role Models is a stupid comedy that’s hard not to enjoy.